Risky business – commodities traders and financiers, it’s time to re-think your vessel screening process

The world is getting riskier for commodity trading stakeholders – especially at sea. Between wars, extreme weather, and energy price shocks, uncontrollable risks are mounting – making it more important than ever to manage risks that can be controlled.
A prime example of such a risk is an outdated or underweight vessel screening process. The vessel carrying the cargo is a source of considerable operational risk for commodity traders and financiers, and the financial, legal and reputational repercussions of maritime incidents can be catastrophic. 

With that in mind, here are four reasons to re-think your screening process:
1)    Transparency is king

The pressure to show your workings is ramping up against the backdrop of growing ESG demands. Data reporting legislation is on the rise and there shall be no stone unturned when it comes to the commodities supply chain. Is your vessel screening process robust and ready to share? Will additional steps be needed in order to make its findings presentable? Do you have access to all the data you need in order to meet reporting criteria? Do you have the time to meet these growing transparency requirements? Regulators, investors and customers are increasingly expecting the answer to all of these questions to be ‘yes’. Transparency is the future of the industry and those who fail to adopt will be left behind.

2)    Squeezing profitability windows

Speaking of time, operational risk managers in commodity trading and finance roles are battling against a profitability window squeeze. So, while it’s common knowledge that vessels involved in trade transactions are a potential operational risk, this doesn’t change the fact that risk managers are still spending too much time and effort on clearing vessels using legacy screening methods. With a 24 hour turnaround time now standard across the industry, cumbersome processes are further compounded when regulatory goal posts are in a state of flux, requiring a nimble approach that can adapt in-step.

3)    The digital disillusionment trap

Sifting the fads from the trends is the perennial test for technology adoption and failure to choose correctly can lead to digital disillusionment. While it’s important to be discerning, battling on with cumbersome processes at the expense of change puts a drain on teams and resources. Over time, outdated tools lead to outdated results which, when it comes to vessel screening, can result in risky decisions with severe reputational and financial consequences.

4)    Shipping is a big business – and it’s all about who you know

Vessels are an integral part of the commodity trading supply chain. But they have their home in the maritime sector – which while vast and far reaching, is also complicated, nuanced and protective. Risk managers attempting to perform screening in silo are often battling against information blackholes, lacking access to the people, businesses and information required to make accurate maritime risk assessments. As a well-established player in the maritime safety and vessel vetting space, our screening experts at RightShip are perfectly placed to help bridge this gap. 

For commodities traders and financiers looking to get a better handle on the vessel screening processes,
get in touch today.