Investment from private equity firm LDC has opened the door for UK inspection company Idwal to develop its sale-and-purchase inspection programme.

Idwal, formerly part of Graig Shipping, made its name by offering standardised S&P inspections which developed into a comprehensive ship condition rating system.

The Cardiff-based firm has been seeking to build on its global inspection capability and reputation in the S&P market where it now inspects close to half of vessels sold.

Following the investment from LDC, it is launching a wider-ranging inspection programme called Idwal ID.

The latest development is an ad-hoc fleet inspection, condition monitoring and benchmarking programme which is built on its growing industry database.

Idwal estimates it has inspected more than 10,000 unique ships and about 15% of the world fleet to provide meaningful benchmarking and to identify trends.

Chief commercial officer George Haysom, who has a career in both S&P shipbroking at Braemar and ship management at Anglo Eastern, has been closely involved with the development of Idwal ID.

“With the industry’s thirst for data, Idwal is able to unlock all the data they have collected and to utilise it in both the S&P and ship management space; both areas in which I have significant experience,” Haysom said.

The outside expertise and capital injection from LDC have also been critical to the product development and will “fuel the next phase of investing in the technology and resources to scale up Idwal ID”, Haysom said.

Expert view

The idea behind Idwal ID is to provide shipowners, managers, charterers and financial institutions with an independent, expert view of fleet condition.

Companies including Anglo American, Borealis Maritime, CMA CGM, Cobelfret, Fednav, Swire Bulk and Tufton have got involved with the product.

Nick Owens is chief executive of Idwal. Photo: Idwal

Some have argued that the industry is already overwhelmed by inspections — ranging from regulatory surveys from classification societies, insurers, flag states and port state control to commercial inspections such as SIRE and RightShip.

Class societies are also developing their own big data takes on fleet condition.

So what is Idwal ID offering that makes yet another round of inspection worthwhile?

“Commercial and statutory inspections focus on individual compliance rather than fleet-wide condition monitoring,” Haysom said.

“We work for the client and can tailor requirements to suit their needs; we aren’t coming after them with a regulatory or charterer’s stick. What we find is only available to the client and they choose what to do with it — it is not used against them.”

Independent and objective

Idwal says its inspections are independent and objective and can be effective in improving safety, maintenance programmes, fleet management and operational efficiency.

“Technical teams can get ahead of problems and prioritise needs based on fleet-wide data rather than reactive vessel-by-vessel assessments,” Haysom said.

Haysom says the system is secured against data leaks of commercially sensitive data.

He is hopeful that Idwal ID will lay the foundations for ship inspection to be used more progressively and proactively.

“It empowers owners with the insights and tools to drive progress and once stakeholders recognise this potential, they appreciate how Idwal ID can help elevate standards, not just point out deficiencies,” he said.

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