Arnlea’s international Business Development Manager Paul Goonan describes the opportunities they have discovered in the US marine industry, a market they hadn’t planned on developing.
Arnlea is a tried and trusted partner for a number of global oil & gas clients, with more than 25 years’ expertise in supply chain and operational management activities, providing software solutions to the energy industry.
Arnlea Systems Inc is a subsidiary of Arnlea Systems Ltd, global leader in industrial mobile software for tracking, inspection and maintenance for the oil & gas industry, and signed its first two US contracts with TOTE Services, LLC, an affiliate of TOTE, LLC, in 2020. through its partnership with SourceIEx. This was big news, particularly in the US, because Totes Services was the first marine business to convert some of its vessels to LNG in response to changes in the US Coastguard directions for the use of LNG in respect of reduced carbon emissions. Conversion to LNG by any US vessel triggers the need for hazardous area “Ex” inspections, something the US marine industry has not been used to, until now.
To those in the Oil & Gas industry, Ex inspections are par for the course. Inspections of Ex electrical items are a daily occurrence, some companies complete these inspections using pen and paper, Excel spreadsheets, and increasingly, software and cloud-based software.
In the US Marine industry however, Ex inspections have not been of relevance until in 2018 the US Coastguard created a series of safety regulations to create HSEQ standards for offshore platforms, units and vessels. For marine companies, they came into effect if a vessel converted from carbon-emitting diesel to lower carbon emitting LNG. The challenge of global climate change has meant many global shipping businesses are converting their vessels and in the US TOTE Services has been a pioneer in this endeavour, converting their first vessel in 2017 and has the most environmentally advanced ships in the nation.
This has provided an opportunity for Arnlea. The US market is a clear strategic target for Arnlea, and I am planning on relocating there as soon as practical. We formally opened our US office in Houston in 2020 but due to the global pandemic, we’ve not yet physically occupied our new home, something we’re hoping to achieve before the end of 2021. We specialise in the energy industry focusing on providing cloud-based software to deploy asset management systems, which is why we decided to establish a commercial base in Houston, to be in another global energy centre and to support our US partners and resellers. In our core industry, clients deploying Intrinsix are typically experiencing multi-million-pound savings and payback of the system well within a year, whilst improving operational excellence, compliance, asset integrity, and reducing their OPEX.
The opportunity with TOTE came about through one of our premier resellers and partners, SourceIEx. An experienced operator for Ex equipment and services for the oil and gas industry, they were aware of the opportunities in the marine industry and recognised that as a tried and trusted partner in Ex and asset management software with a global reputation, Arnlea was in pole position to support forward-thinking marine operators in the US. As soon as it became clear that we were expanding the business Stateside, we began to foster closer ties with specialist equipment, software and service providers, to provide a broader and more attractive proposition to potential clients. This strategy is paying off, as we opened this new market as a direct result of this relationship.
This led to Arnlea signing its first US contracts with TOTE Services, who operate the world’s first LNG-powered – Marlin Class – container ships. TOTE is in the process of converting to LNG a second class of vessels, Orcas Class and, as such, is now required by the US Coastguard to conduct regular Ex inspections. The installation dates were in late 2020, supported by SourceIEx, who also supported Arnlea with the first inspections.
As Bob Johnson, President, SourceIEx said at the time, “Our relationship with Arnlea is both strategic and timely. The opportunities for cloud- based Ex inspection software in both the energy and maritime industries are immense, due to a shift towards digital transformation and a move to LNG fuels. We welcome Arnlea’s first US contracts with TOTE and see them as just the first of many to come.”
TOTE LLC’s family of companies includes leading transportation and logistics companies. TOTE Maritime Alaska, LLC, and TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico, LLC bring unmatched reliability and service to their respective markets. TOTE Services, LLC offers crewing and technical services to meet the needs of commercial, privately owned, and U.S. Government vessels.
TOTE was in the process of converting its West Coast vessels from diesel to LNG in a bid to lower their carbon footprint and this brings with it a new responsibility to conduct IEC inspections. This has been the first marine contract for Arnlea anywhere in the world, outside its core market of oil and gas and opened a brand-new market for the business.
The IntrinsixEX software has been deployed on a fleet of five different vessels, comprising two vessels and a barge (TOTE Puerto Rico) on the Atlantic Coast and two vessels on the Pacific Coast (TOTE Alaska).
IntrinsixEX plays a central role with industry regulations and IEC 60079 standards compliance, ATEX directives, including the US Coastguard’s regulations for LNG fuel, as part of the management of hazardous areas and equipment. It can also help to manage headcount and improve safety; and being cloud-based provides a number of strategic advantages for its clients, which has had greater resonance with clients since the Covid-19 pandemic. It deploys on handheld technology to provide visibility, accuracy and control of assets, helping to improve efficiency and reliability and, ultimately, extend the asset’s life and uses auto-ID mobile technology to increase compliance and decrease costs in Ex inspections and maintenance activities. Integrating with SAP and IBM Maximo, improving management reporting and overall operational efficiencies IntrinsixEX also improves inspectors’ efficiency by an average of 150%, compared with pen and paper, boosting productivity, and creating a greater sense of ownership during a campaign.
This opportunity is part of a greener solution that US marine businesses, from commercial ship management to the cruise industry are seeking by converting from diesel to LNG fuel transmissions. TOTE is a pioneer in this respect, and to be working with such a progressive organisation so early in our marine business development has been an excellent introduction to the industry.
There are future opportunities with other commercial marine operators, as well as in the cruise and leisure industry where consumer brands are now keen to demonstrate their environmental credentials by what they are doing to lower their carbon emissions. Using Intrinsix brings peace of mind, simplicity and because it’s cloud-based, it’s also future-proof and all data is secure. Now that we’re a Microsoft Silver Partner, our formalised cloud-based applications also possess the additional benefit of Microsoft’s security architecture for all our customers who take this next step and move to our cloud-based software option. In the 21st century, the more controllable data you have, the more power you have and as a leader in our field, Arnlea exists to streamline the data analysis process, to enable safety compliance and empowers businesses to make better critical decisions.
We hadn’t anticipated our first contract out of our US offices would be a marine client and yet the synergies with the energy industry are evident. Without the marine industry, the energy industry would also struggle and so this happy accident has given us a new strategic imperative for our US operations, which will help grow our US business. The other takeaway is that operating in new sectors or markets often requires valuable partners with commercial operators who have a much better understanding of the market than you might. New opportunities mean more risk and often greater rewards and a reliable, like-minded partner can make all the difference.
Read the latest issue of the OGV Energy magazine HERE.