Ship Stores & Spares Procurement _Best Practices

12 January 2022 | Capt. Vikas Vij

Ship Stores & Spares Procurement _Best Practices

Ship Departments

There are about 20 to 25 seafarers on a typical cargo ship. There are 3 main departments to run the ship i.e. Deck, Engine Room & Saloon department. Captain is overall In-charge of the ship & Chief Engineer is In-charge of machinery. Primary function of Deck Officers and deck crew is to ensure safe navigation, decks maintenance and loading, discharging & care of the cargo. Likewise Engineers and engine crew are for smooth running & maintenance of engine room machinery. Saloon department consists of Chief Cook and stewards for galley, pantry & cabin services. Deck department is headed by the Chief Officer and ably assisted by Second Officer, Third Officer, Fourth Officer at times and Deck Ratings. They together look into procurement of Deck Stores such as paints, paint equipment, cleaning material, de-rusting appliances, tools, hardware, protective clothing & foot wear, ropes & hawsers, tackles, lifesaving appliances, firefighting appliances, navigation equipment & charts publications, medical equipment & medical supplies, repair materials & other consumables.

Saloon & Galley procurement requirements are listed by Chief Cook and conveyed through Chief Officer for stores such as food provisions, crockery, galley equipment, general & kitchen appliances, welfare & recreation items, sanitary stores, bed linen and toilet cleaning materials etc. Engine department is headed by Second Engineer and he ably assisted by Third Engineer, Fourth Engineer, Fitter/Welder and Engine Room Ratings. They together look into procurement of engine stores such as lubricants, hoses & couplings, cutting and measuring tools, hardware, nuts & bolts, welding & gas cutting equipment and spare parts, protective gear, various repair materials, valves, cocks, bearings, packing & adhesives, electric equipment, machinery parts and spares among others.

Planned Maintenance Systems & Spares Inventory

Almost every ship has a Planned Maintenance System (PMS) these days. Besides work schedules for each ship component, there is also an inventory maintained on the software under use. Department head will always get an alert if during maintenance, inventory of products runs near minimum quantities at the threshold set into the system by the company or department heads.

Best Practices for Procurement

Master & Chief Engineer shall ensure that the Deck / Saloon & Engine Room department heads make their bulk procurement requirements as much in advance of a port call. Preferably 7 days’ notice or more is preferred by E-Commerce portal management to consolidate all requirements prior to ships call and keep all in readiness with shipping & logistics arrangement for the delivery at port of call. In pandemic times it also allows management to properly sanitize the products & packages as required. Each port & country is known for easy availability and reasonability of prices for particular type of stores. For example, Indian ports are best places for internationally trading ships for spices, pulses, cereals which have long shelf life and ship owner shall plan to procure in bulk quantity for months if not calling Indian ports on regular basis. It is also known that generally all types of ships consumables and spares are easily available at Indian ports at reasonable prices. Similarly, Singapore was once renowned for electronic goods, however now with various countries adapting free market models, India too has wide variety of all marine products of multi-national brands. All types of deck, saloon, and engine stores & spares are available at Indian ports.

Once the Deck, Saloon & Engine requirements are known, it would serve best for the ship owner and its procurement team to use an E-commerce portal for ship stores and spares with market place experience. With digital age, it is easy to go to the dedicated E-commerce portal for marine products with full description, specification, color, material, brand, product image and most importantly the prices displayed conspicuously against each product. Procurement team shall then add ship stores & spares by carting the products and Tag each product with department. This ensures that products belonging to each department are packaged together in one or more cartons based on number of products. There are generally numerous routes available to search the product and add to the cart such as Search Bar, Category & Sub Category product window shopping, going by the Best Sellers, Top Offers, New Releases and Quick Deliveries. Usually one can also add similar items below the chosen products. Based on departmental budget constraints and Order total available in the Cart instantly, one can always add, delete or amend quantities. Best advantage of ordering stores through E-commerce portal is that all ordered stores can be archived and reordered with amendments and addition / deletions at next port call.

Writer of this blog is the Promoter & Director of Cart2Port Services which hosts www.shipstorespares.com

A dedicated B2B E-commerce portal for wide range of Marine Products with market place experience.