Looking Towards 2021

With the sun setting on one of the most unprecedented years in recent history, the world is looking forward to a fresh start come January. While we have seen the COVID-19 pandemic create great resilience within communities, it is clear that global action needs to be taken to alter the path down which we are heading. Besides, with such a volatile year behind us, a COVID-19 vaccine and new U.S. administration on the horizon, what better time to make a change? Accordingly, we take a look at what’s coming up for Pole Star in 2021 and explore our New Year’s resolutions.

1) Improve our Environmental Social Governance

2020 marked the turn of a new decade with a renewed focus on ensuring a sustainable future for our planet, resulting from the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), alongside the enforcement of the IMO’s new environmental regulations placing a limit on sulphur emissions across the shipping industry. As such, this year at Pole Star we have analysed our ESG policies and looked at ways in which we can help to improve the environmental impact of our industry as a whole.

With the global commodities sector contributing 50% of global greenhouse gas emissions, it is a major culprit behind the climate emergency that we are facing. Therefore, we partnered with the Marco Polo Network and carbon accounting solutions provider, Carbon Chain, to provide the opportunity for companies to access innovative trade finance programs that provide a direct link between financing terms and ESG performance set against specific maritime industry criteria. And, with an increasing number of countries set to adopt stricter regulations around CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions, this partnership has come at just the right time.

Moreover, we have endeavoured to purchase carbon credits throughout the upcoming financial year to make us carbon neutral. This is a crucial programme that Pole Star is committed to developing; stay tuned for further updates.

2) Continue to enable critical global supply chains

As a company, we have positively contributed towards the SDGs this year, with a particular focus on reducing the impact of COVID-19 on achieving Goal 2: Zero Hunger and Goal 3: Good Health and Wellbeing. With the high levels of uncertainty regarding all aspects of daily life that came alongside the pandemic, supply chains have become more critical than ever to ensuring the continual running of essential services. From enabling the global movement of vital supplies to supporting the delivery of food, medical supplies, and healthcare equipment, the maritime trade industry is a key component of the global infrastructure.

At Pole Star, we understand that movement across our oceans is essential to the transportation of goods and, as such, have ensured that our solutions enable business continuity. Going forwards, we will strive to ensure that our suite of solutions continue to service critical supply chains, to maintain reliability and security as the pandemic continues.

3) Develop our solutions to further increase maritime security and transparency

At Pole Star we empower real-world decisions and mitigate risk by working with governments and businesses across the supply chain to create a transparent, secure, and compliant operating environment, while mitigating growing threats to ships, supply chains, cargo, territorial waters and, most importantly, lives within the maritime infrastructure and beyond.

Our regulatory technology, PurpleTRAC, and Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) solution provide essential insight across the maritime industry and consequently require ongoing reviews and improvements. Our third New Year resolution, a promise that we action recurrently, is to continue developing our solutions in line with regulatory updates and arising challenges.

The upcoming features to be included in PurpleTRAC are as follows:

  • Extended AIS monitoring: Review previous 24 months of AIS position data.
  • Customisable position gap analysis: Report on & view additional details when a ship stops reporting (including duration of gap).
  • Ship-to-ship risk monitoring: Monitor vessels that stop reporting during STS transfers (duration of non-reporting period, draught before and after reporting gap).
  • Cargo change calculation: Monitor changes in ship draught.
  • OFAC and user defined High Risk Area monitoring: Define high risk areas, monitor ships that stop reporting inside these zones.
  • Flag hopping monitoring.
  • Company change monitoring.

For MDA, updates will include improved alerts, fleet management, and vessel tracking capabilities to assist compliance with OFAC and OFSI sanctions and regulations.

4) Maintain an effective and efficient WFH system

Over the course of this year the Pole Star team have efficiently and effectively transitioned to working remotely. While there is no realistic expectation to return back to ‘normal’ yet, our final resolution is to maintain the consistent resilience that has been visible throughout all our global offices.

While many organisations have faced difficulties throughout this time, our Managing Director, Julian Longson, recently reported that Pole Star has continued to cement its place as a leading provider of technology solutions to the maritime-trade sector. As such, while upholding the working from home system that we have in place, we will also endeavour to sustain the momentum that has built up over 2020 and has positioned us so highly within the Financial Markets Compliance, Governments, and Shipping & Offshore sectors.

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