Tsakos Columbia Shipmanagement (TCM) has introduced electronic payment and phased out cash payment for its crew employed on vessels under its management.
Under an agreement with global maritime payments provider ShipMoney, the electronic payment solution means the seafarers will have control and access to their wages while onboard ships, including the timing and currency of remittances sent home.
The solution will also significantly reduce the need for large amounts of cash to be delivered to ships and eliminate the need for TCM to administer individual crew wire payments sent to home bank accounts.
ShipMoney is rolling out its service to 90 vessels consisting of tankers, containers, and dry bulk vessels following a successful trial.
“By introducing ShipMoney, we’ve been able to streamline the onboard crew payment process across the fleet by enhancing the safety in money transfer, reducing costs, saving time and providing a new benefit to our valued crewmembers and their families,” said Harry Katsipoulakis, cfo of TCM.
Stuart Ostrow, president of ShipMoney, commented: “One of the important benefits to the deal relates to foreign exchange, which is often a hidden cost for crew. The majority of today’s crew are contracted and paid in US dollars and most employers remit individual US dollar wire payments to individual seafarer bank accounts. If the seafarer’s home bank account is not denominated in dollars, then the receiving bank has complete control over the conversion from US dollars to the currency of the crew member’s account.”
Ostrow continued: “A 2017 World Bank study identified that banks are the most expensive option when converting currency with an average cost of approximately 11%. Mobile Money offered the least expensive option at less than 4%. Over the life of a crew member’s career, this differential could be substantial.