Over the past 175 years, Inchcape Shipping Services has grown into a global leader in port agency and marine services. As a company, it connects the world through its marine services to facilitate successful trade whilst constantly responding to the sector’s changing dynamics. What is crucial for Inchcape is its unrivalled knowledge and expertise, as the company believes in striking the perfect balance between its global network and the local execution of services by its outstanding port workforce.
Inchcape provides full cargo agency, crew logistics, husbandry, transits, dry docking, bunker calls, protective agency, financial management and outsourced solutions, all of which are managed through their service centre hubs to provide its customers with a range of services which are underpinned by years of knowledge. From its origins in 1846, Inchcape has evolved to be a globally recognised and reputable shipping company, which in 2022 began a new venture to coincide with its 175th birthday, as Istithmar PJSC sold Inchcape to the UK-based private company Epirir LLP. The sale aims to enhance the ports agency business, whilst expanding the digitalisation of its services for its customers. With 3000 employees and 245 offices worldwide, Inchcape provides services to 85% of the world’s ports creating over 100,00 port service jobs a year. Furthermore, with its operations spanning across 60 countries and 2200 ports, Inchcape Shipping Services leads the way in providing a full range of services across the marine industry globally.
Inchcape takes a three-pillar approach in its operations to achieve a smoother and smarter ocean. The first pillar focuses on its global network, as Inchcape is one of the largest owned proprietary networks for any shipping agency. By establishing crucial and valuable relationships throughout its operations between customers, suppliers and global marine services, Inchcape can continue providing its services internationally with a strong and reliable network behind everything they do. For Inchcape, the relationship between its global network and its local agents is an essential one. The company believes in fostering relationships of value throughout its supplier network; working with local agents to bring an international breadth of knowledge and expertise to the projects on the ground, which, when partnered with its increasing technological advancements, places Inchcape as a clear leader for global shipping services.
Therefore, the second crucial pillar of Inchcape’s operations is the advancement of technology. Inchcape is crucially aware of the ever-growing need and effectiveness of technology in the shipping industries; therefore, it intends to increase its technological scale to provide greater transparency towards the global eco-system of shipping. With 70,00 port calls a year, there is an abundance of data points that can be collected to develop and improve its services. Then with information gathered through these data points, and through the World of Ports system (a static dataset concerning berthing and terminal data for dry and wet berths around the world), Inchcape can continuously monitor the berths and update the datasets through geo-referencing, which allows for ports to ensure that future vessels are compatible with their terminals and berths. Furthermore, optics can be applied to single vessels or whole fleets for unrivalled visibility on a global scale through the technological development of their ships. Inchcape has developed a variety of technological advancements that improve and pioneer the company’s role as the leader for shipping services by providing secure, reliable, and unrivalled knowledge across the industry.
The third pillar of Inchcape’s operations is focusing on its people. As a company, it is focused on the crucial role that employees, suppliers, and the overall network play in the business on both a local and international scale. A crucial way Inchcape supports its employees is through an in-house training programme which provides both mandatory and vocational modules for its staff. For Inchcape, developing its technology is just as crucial as supporting its people, as together they make such a crucial resource for the company. Inchcape’s operations are constantly backed by an experienced and unique network of people that ensure every operation is conducted to the company’s world-renowned level. Therefore, Inchcape is always focused on providing bettering opportunities for its staff, which in turn brings that high level of expertise and knowledge to every operation across the globe.
Looking towards the future, Inchcape has announced that they will have a high-profile presence at Seatrade Cruise Global in Fort Lauderdale in Florida, as they expand their cruise markets in line with the increase in uptake back to pre-pandemic levels. So far this year Inchcape has seen an increase in cruises to roughly 6200, with a hope that this level will soon return to the 10,000 port calls recorded in 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic. Offering a variety of services including husbandry, 24/7 crew logistics, ground handling, bunkering, and surveying, Inchcape is widely involved in the cruise industry, often dealing with excursions, managing itineraries and handling cruise charters for special events, which allows Inchcape to aid in destination development. One of the key ways Inchcape is developing its cruise line services is through the renewed expansion over the coming years for its ship fleet. The aim is to introduce 23 mega ships, 18 luxury vessels and 10 expedition ships, 61% of which will be able to run on lower-carbon liquid natural gas (LNG) as their primary propulsion in an effort towards a more sustainable fleet. Currently, 75% of their total vessels run on sustainable marine fuels, however, the industry is facing new sustainable challenges as there is a lack of LNG bunkering facilities which greatly reduces the destination potential for LNG-fuelled ships. However, this shows Inchcape’s push towards a more sustainable future through the advancement of its cruise line service operations across the shipping industry.
As a global powerhouse for shipping, Inchcape Shipping Services always strives for greatness. Throughout its services, Inchcape is constantly trying to improve and provide its customers with the most efficient, safe, and sustainable shipping options. However, they never lose the heart of the business, as it is their global network of people which makes Inchcape such a success. Therefore, Inchcape continues to combine the power of its global network with the development of technology to enhance its services. By providing the tools and support to its customers, Inchcape remains a leader in the shipping industry that continues to excel.