As a part of the NYK Group’s medium-term management plan “Staying Ahead 2022 with Digitalization and Green,” NYK is currently considering the establishment of a new network that will enable onboard financial settlements through the remittance of electronic money (e-money). Onboard tests have been conducted to examine the potential to reduce administrative work and the risk of cash loss, and thus foster an employee-friendly workplace where crews can work comfortably and concentrate on ship operations.
Today, onboard payments are made in cash. Crew members are given a part of their salaries in cash, and daily goods are paid for in cash. The captain must allocate time to oversee payment, inventory, and orders, and crew members must handle cash on board and pay overseas remittance charges to send funds to family members in home countries. NYK estimates that total cash on company ships around the world amounts to about $800 million a year, and costs related to handling are very high.
Therefore, as part of the company’s Creative Solutions Startup Support System,* NYK has begun to examine the use of FinTech to realize cashless ships.
2. Cashless Ships
Payments by land offices, onboard purchases, and remittances (between crew members and to family members on land) can all be done on board with e-money in a stable communication environment. In addition, cost, time, and risk can be reduced through electronic transactions instead of cash.
From August to the end of September, NYK teamed with Japan Card Network Co. Ltd. (JCN)** to conduct several tests. The team examined the feasibility and effectiveness of the introduction of e-money that can be exchanged for cash, the establishment of an environment that allows the crew to use e-money on board, and an application (patent pending) that enables e-money to be easily managed.
Many issues remain to be addressed before a cashless ship can be realized, but NYK is forging ahead to construct a viable system by cooperating with various sources and improving operational issues for commercialization.
Based on the NYK Group’s mission of “Bringing value to life,” NYK will look to develop this e-money network for the benefit of seafarers who work around the world and their local communities.