KVH and ChartCo launch ‘timely and economical’ chart service for vessel owner

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KVH Industries Inc (Nasdaq: KVHI) is launching a new service called CHARTlinkTM for ChartCo, in association with leading digital chart distributor ChartCo, to transmit charts and a library of navigators’ publications to vessels at sea in a timely and affordable manner. The two companies will be unveiling the new solution at Nor-Shipping 2017 in Lillestrom, Norway, this week, in KVH booth B04-20 and ChartCo booth C03-02F.

For ship managers and officers who need to know their vessels are ready for the next voyage, CHARTlink for ChartCo is designed to ensure fast, affordable delivery of the updates needed to conduct safe voyages and comply with the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) regulations requiring the carriage of navigational data using an Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS).

“We keep a close track of developments in satellite communications to determine the best solution for getting voyage-dependent content to customers who transit the globe on thousands of vessels,” said Martin Taylor, CEO of ChartCo. “Our evaluation of IP-MobileCast led us to conclude that it’s a great solution. We’re happy to be working with KVH on this joint initiative and new delivery method, and are confident our customers will appreciate its timeliness, reliability and low price point.”

KVH will transmit complete chart data and publications on a weekly basis to subscribing vessels via its IP-MobileCastTM content delivery service. The CHARTlink for ChartCo service will be included at no additional charge to subscribers of AgilePlansTM by KVH, the recently introduced all-inclusive, no-commitment Connectivity as a Service (CaaS) offering. KVH’s mini-VSAT Broadband customers who wish to purchase CHARTlink for ChartCo separately can do so for a fixed monthly fee of $49 per vessel.

Licences for access to the encrypted content will be available from ChartCo. The content available includes ChartCo’s proprietary digital products, which are used by more than 13,500 vessels today and, as ChartCo is an authorised Admiralty distributor, all of the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office’s (UKHO) vector charts and e-publications.

“We are happy to be working with ChartCo, a company whose prominence in providing charts and navigational data to commercial and leisure vessels is unquestioned,” said Martin Kits van Heyningen, KVH CEO. “ChartCo has always been an innovator, and we are thrilled that they see IP-MobileCast as a high-value delivery solution for its customers.”

With the advent of the IMO’s mandate that vessels must carry charts that comply with ECDIS— a mandate that is nearing the final 2018 deadline of a rollout that began in 2012—chart distributors and vessel operators alike face the challenge of ensuring timely chart updates while at sea.

Using standard satellite communications for full chart set delivery is economically prohibitive, with airtime fees potentially ranging into the tens of thousands of dollars per ship for one global quarterly chart set. In light of those economics, customers typically opt for courier delivery of a DVD or USB, but that method involves uncertain logistics and customs clearance expenses. One KVH customer calculated that the average cost and time of delivering a DVD to a ship was $100 and several weeks’ delay.

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