Digital Ship is organising its 3rd conference in Hamburg on April 28th about Shipdex – a standard for converting paper manuals on ships to electronic documentation.

Giancarlo Coletta, purchasing director of Grimaldi Group Naples and Captain Eugen Adami, managing director of Intership Navigation, started Shipdex when they were frustrated that new vessels were still being supplied with a table top full of paper documents.

Other co-founders were software company SpecTec (which developed the standard) and equipment suppliers Alfa Laval, MacGREGOR Group, MAN and Yanmar.

If technical information was supplied by shipyards and equipment suppliers in a standard electronic format, it would lead to a great deal of reduced effort, improved accuracy of documentation onboard, and no more sending the manuals away to be keyed into maintenance and purchasing systems – leading to improvements in vessel maintenance, safety and quality of life onboard.

Over the past year, pilot projects have been running at equipment suppliers to develop electronic documentation in Shipdex format – and the first project to use it onboard a vessel will start in June this year.

It is now time for more shipping companies, equipment suppliers, shipyards, and software companies to get involved in Shipdex. Particularly as, in the economic downturn, there might be more staff time available for projects such as this one which take up some time in the short term but save a lot of time in the long term.

A good way to get started is to attend the 1 year anniversary conference for Shipdex, to be held in Hamburg on April 28th.

Shipowners will explain how they can benefit from Shipdex; equipment manufacturers will explain how their pilot projects have gone so far to develop Shipdex documentation and how they see the costs and benefits; software companies will advise on the best way to go about it; and there will be tips from experience moving to electronic documentation from the aviation industry.

There will be plenty of discussion about the best way to get started with Shipdex – what obstacles you are likely to face in your company and how to get over them – including concerns about initial costs, protecting intellectual property, independence of the standard and likely industry take-up.