Charting the course

It was in September 2003 that Céline Mortier took on the position of Chief Operating Officer at Bogerd Martin, one of the largest distributors of nautical charts and publications. In the 13-plus years that followed, Céline has witnessed the landscape of the maritime service industry continue to evolve dramatically as it navigates its way through what is an increasingly digitised world.

Having steered the company’s operations in the right direction, Céline was rewarded by becoming Bogerd Martin’s newest Chief Executive Officer in January 2017. “My primary aim as CEO is to further the digitisation of our operations, placing us in the best possible position to succeed in a digital future,” she explains. “Whereas in the past companies like ours could wait for customers to come to us when they needed a physical chart or publication, in this new digital world we need to be more forward facing, leveraging our service offering, productivity and quality to differentiate ourselves from our competitors. We have definitely had to adopt a new way of thinking here in recent years, but it is one that our entire team is 200 per cent behind, which is one of the main reasons why we are making such strong progress with our growth plans.”

Bogerd Martin’s strategy for achieving growth has also extended this year to the opening of a new sales office in Singapore. Opened in April, this new facility has been established to service the steadily increasing demand for the company’s services from Asian ship owners. “When it comes to certain regions,” Céline continues, “we believe it is important to have people in place that are familiar with the market and the companies operating within it. This all comes back to one of our principle aims as a business, which is to make the life of our customers easier by offering them a quality, cost-effective and customised service.”

Living with ECDIS requires a ship manager and the ship’s officers to be constantly aware of changes in legal requirements and maintenance issues. Along with the selection and installation of ECDIS hardware on board their vessels, ship owners and managers will also face the associated challenge of training their officers to use these navigation aids. As experts in its field, Bogerd Martin can help its customers to manage and select the right product for their needs.

“The SOLAS regulations regarding the adoption of ECDIS systems has definitely had an impact on demand from ship owners for our services,” Céline states. “Existing cargo vessels, for example, make up one segment that is now looking to address the absence of such systems, and we expect the retrofitting of these, and other vessels, will only become a larger part of our activities as 2018 approaches. Certain geographic regions are also starting to recognise the need to update their charting capabilities, with owners based in Asia also driving our activities, hence the opening of our new Singapore office. All of this has resulted in a strong first six months of 2017.”

When speaking previously to Céline’s predecessor, Michael Martin, back in January 2016, Bogerd Martin was in the process of rolling out the latest version of its Chart Track Navigator solution. A user-friendly computer programme, it enables a ship’s crew to list their inventory, activate or deactivate geographical areas depending on the trading route, and to download vessel-specific notices to mariners and tracings via e-mail. Said crew is then able to visualise their paper chart holdings on a digital catalogue and easily select the charts they require for their next voyage.

“Today we have reached the point where the newest version of Chart Track Navigator has been adopted by almost all of our customers,” Céline says. “What we find is that the majority of vessels within our customers’ fleets are in fact dual usage, meaning they carry both physical paper and digital charts and maps. Chart Track Navigator is the perfect tool for these customers, providing them with a complete overview of their upcoming activities.”

Integrated with Findaport world port information, Chart Track Navigator’s latest platform offers a scalable solution that incorporates future functionality, including a Port Form database, route planning, voyage preparation, weather information and more. Also included is a full database of Electronic Navigational Charts (ENC) and easy-to-use functionality with which to manage permits, monitor validity and place orders for additional ENC cells. Such has been the response to Chart Track Navigator, and its upgrades, that it has become a must-have for Bogerd Martin’s customers.

“The digitisation of our industry, in my opinion, is only set to intensify in the years to come, and as such we need to be sure to optimise ourselves, our products and our services as much as possible,” Céline adds. “It is the case with all of our customers that once they make the transition digital solutions they soon realise and appreciate the advantages, and cost savings, that they create. For our part, Bogerd Martin is a well-respected name, one that has a strong reputation for the support and service we provide, and by making sure that we are on-hand 24/7 to provide our expertise I am confident that this reputation is one that we not only retain, but enhance going forward.”

Bogerd Martin NV
A history dating back over 100 years
Servicing the rise in electronic charts and publications
Creator of the Chart Track Navigator solution