Analytical portal for maritime professionals: Stark Research
Stark Research is an analytical tool for shipping industry. It collects a lot of data about international voyages and helps to analyze activity of specific player or a whole market. The basis of the application is the unique data of cargo flows of bulk and liquid cargo through the ports and terminals of the Black and Azov Seas.
Stark Shipping is a port agency from Ukraine providing its services to maritime logistics companies worldwide for over 8 years now. Solar Digital and Stark Shipping are long-time partners in IT and Digital solutions for maritime logistics. We have been working together from the very start of Stark Shipping and have launched several joint maritime IT solutions which helped our client to claim its reputation as an innovative maritime logistics agency in the highly competitive maritime shipping market.
Stark Research 4.0 is an impressive analytical tool that helps different maritime market actors (shippers and receivers, maritime shipping companies, port agents, port governors, ports and terminals, independent stevedores, governmental entities, fleet operators, financial holdings, freight transport companies, 3PL and 4PL companies, construction companies, charter companies, oil brokers and grain traders, quality control laboratories and any other maritime professionals) to get full information on the required vessel or port, including real-time shipping tracking map.
Stark Research: innovative digital big data solution for maritime logistics
The main question behind the Stark Research project was a question of how a shipping company can effectively use data from vessels and external sources. The client approached with the following problem: being engaged in shipping agenting, they were using large data flows on cargoes, particularly vegetable oil and grain. Most of the data they had was stocked in hardcopies and wasn’t structured at all: emails or Excel spreadsheets, local media articles, WhatsApp messages and industry insight overheard here and there which was not convenient to use (something like custom TMS software for shippers). They wanted to create a system that would help to structure information, quickly find the necessary data, and make forecasts. However, there was no modern analytical tool on the maritime market that would:
- Collect all the data on port, vessel, track, etc real time
- Provide actual pricing on terminal costs dues and port charges
- Overview of the market, analytical reports, and statistical summary of the whole industry
- Have a real-time shipping map that would be easy to track and use in their analytical work
- To be user-friendly and have a clean interface design
This is why Stark Research has requested this Big Data-driven project from Solar Digital. Long story short, we have created something like Power BI (but so much more advanced having so many extra options helping clients with business analytics) for maritime logistics and with non-stop incoming data on thousands of vessels and voyages with full detailed descriptions on each. Stark Research 4.0 is a unique digital solution for maritime market and specialists which allows them to get data reports, analyze that data and make custom research on fleets, vessels, ports, and cargoes online with no external software required. Everything needed is already on the platform and fully online helping users manage big data analytics for marine logistics and transportation.
Line Up of tankers and bulkers: Vessel Schedules and Calendar
The core page of this project is a Line-Up page. This section of Stark Research collects together all the necessary information one would need about the vessel, its type, size, name, current location, cargo type, Q-ty mt, load destination, discharge destination, shipper, charterer, receiver, OPS, terminal, berth, and operator. All this info is packed into a clean and user-friendly design for maritime logistics professionals to use. Solar Digital team was responsible for ensuring that all the data is clear and relatable, is uploaded automatically (so that no admin is required to update it), and yet doesn’t overload servers with the info so that the user won’t face any issues or delays while using the system.
The Line Up section allows users to filter their analysis by year, country, and even region of interest, involved parties, market statuses, vessel history, etc. All this information transmitted to the system saves there non-stop being one of the best and most handy digital solutions for maritime logistics.
Another custom feature for maritime logistics our team has implemented is the professional status filter, such as: “on way”, “waiting for cargo ops”, “cargo ops alongside”, “cargo ops STS”, “waiting to sail”, “on delivery” and “YOY finished”. It is worth mentioning that those filters aka vessels' statuses are updated in real-time based on status info the system gets from the vessel’s AIS. Those are visually shown on the info cart for each vessel or track so that it helps users to identify statuses faster for their analysis and makes Stark research easy to use and understand.
Custom live ship maps AIS vessel traffic and positioning
The Map: real-time AIS Marine Traffic vessel finder
We have developed a custom system where we ensure the flow of all Big Data from external resources and its analytics into Stark Research. The platform we have built allows the Stark team and their customers to follow the whole supply chain logistics process for maritime in real-time. This required some API integration (we have integrated APIs of real-time shipping trackers such as FleetMon and MaritimeTraffic) and 24/7 data updates on the Stark Research platform. Moreover, we have developed some custom vessel designs on the map and have integrated info charts (vessel status) for each of them on the shipping tracker map.
How does it work?
In order to integrate, analyze, and visually present all the shipping information we have integrated some real-time shipping tracker maps which get their info from ships' AIS and resend it to the Stark Research system. Our product gets this information, redirects it among assigned pages, adds additional information on the shipping tracker, and finally shows it on the integrated map on Stark Research.
Maritime Logistics Market Summary
This is a unique solution we have provided the Stark Research platform with. In this section, Stark Research users can see different charts and data tables for the industry based on the data provided on the platform, which helps them to see the overall picture of the market without
This digital solution helps to gain insight from the largest vessel and port data which optimizes the research and decision-making process for maritime industry professionals. It allows the user to get a report on cargo grades, monthly comparisons, vessel types and sizes, trade countries, trade maps, top companies, markets, regional supply, and many more. Based on that analysis, the system builds user-friendly stock reports helping users to build their forecasts.
In order to create a full-coverage IT product for maritime logistics clients, we have advanced further into the platform features and have created the Connections section. This section shows full historical data between cargo/maritime logistics companies on the market such as voyages they provided each other, countries traded, the share of cargo shipped to each country, and many more. Proving this product is hardly data-driven yet we managed to develop a system that is capable of taking this data, working with it, and redirecting the result to each filter and page this data is requested from.
At Solar Digital we value our client’s security the most, that is why we have implemented an advanced security system for the user. Hence, the system remembers the IP and the computer’s MAC address and has Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). Moreover, the admin can assign gadgets which are allowed in the system, meaning no assigned gadgets can not enter the Stark Research until the system admin allows it for security purposes. Yet those permissions are customizable, meaning if the admin allows it, it can assign multiple gadget access for the user in case the user is on a business trip or has no access to previously assigned gadget.
Ice Campaign Research
Ice Campaign is another handy digital solution Stark Research has for its maritime logistics clients. Ice navigation is something that maritime logistics companies, ship crews, ports, and any other maritime actors can not ignore. Different types of vessels have different Ice classes assigned to them, which is why it is crucial to know if the port is operational or unavailable because of ice.
Ice Campaign collects data on ports. If the port is freezed, Ice Campaign shows it and even provides users with historical data on the required port. This helps Stark Research users to optimize their processes knowing this information.
Technologies: Laravel + MySQL + VueJs + Git + MongoDB + ElasticSearch + PHP +PHP Laravel + PHP Documentor + PHP Unit + Docker + Java Script + Vue. js + HTML + CSS3 + Webpack
Tools: Jira Cloud + Miro + Slack + Confluence + Figma + Centry. io + Docker + FleetMon API + MarineTraffic API + Google Map API + Git + GitLab + Zabbix + Pusher + Twillio + Mailgun + BrowserStack
We have created a custom Big Data digital product for the maritime logistics industry which gained popularity on the market. This resulted in another collaboration with Stark Logistics as we created a maritime logistics data management app for Stark Research.
Stark Research App is fully based on the Stark Research web project. We have created a Single Page Application (SPA) that as its original project has 24/7 updated data flow. Yet this application is not overloading the gadgets it’s being used with.
We have created a responsive application for IOS, that is ready-to-go for both IPads and IPhones, so that users can have access to Stark Research whenever they need too.
As a result of our collaboration with Stark Shipping, we have developed a unique Big Data analysis platform for maritime professionals which includes all the needed data for maritime professionals. The Stark Research project has helped Stark Shipping to digitize its maritime logistics and shipping business and optimize its processes.
Key benefits Stark Logistics got from collaboration with Solar Digital and Stark Research project:
- The Stark Research project helped Stark Shipping gain a digital online 24/7 updating analytical system, which helps them gain maritime market insights faster than any of their competitors and helps them make the best business decisions. There is no such product for maritime logistics analytics as Stark Research’s, making them unique and the only company with such a product on the market.
- Stark Logistics' research helped Stark Logistics and many of their customers get a better market overview and a deeper understanding of it, which helped them boost their sales and the sales of their clients
- Stark Research was awarded “Company of the Year” with their Stark Research product for several years in a row
- Last but not least, such a big maritime logistics digital product as Stark Research helped them drastically scale Stark Logistics business, making them one of the leaders in the global market.
Stark Research project was a great opportunity and experience for our team in Solar Digital as we have advanced our expertise in both the maritime logistics industry and Big Data projects as an IT solution for this type of business.
Solar Digital help us a lot to understand exactly what we want. We often give them unclear tasks which they have to translate to digital language and provide us with possible solutions for. They provide multiple solutions and we get to choose. And they always come with additional ideas on top of what we requested. What's outcome? Our work and our financial returns have increased 3 times. We provide reports of the data that we collect and analyze free of charge to our clients. They’re increasing their requests and we have new clients coming onboard because the system works so well.
years of partnership
voyages in database
version of product
steps of security
They have approached the work in a really personal way. They're not shipping guys but they’re trying to understand the problem. They go quite deep in order to understand how our industry is working and to create a product that we really need. They have a very good designer for graphics and a developer who makes changes very quickly.