Seaspan Marine Corporation

Description: Seaspan Marine Corporation (Seaspan) has served British Columbia's coastal communities for over 100 years. Over that time it has evolved into a prominent marine transportation company serving the West Coast of North America. In addition to harbor services, Seaspan also provides cargo barging and commercial ferry services to the Port of Vancouver, Victoria and other BC out ports.


Challenge: Due to series of workboat company acquisitions, Seaspan was inheriting and operating their harbor services with 20-year-old legacy systems, usually AS400 systems. Seaspan’s other business services, like commercial ferry services or cargo barging, were being run on paper based systems. They wanted to align all systems in a software solution that could accommodate new business and centralize all data for detailed analyses right down to the job level. Their current data management system wouldn’t allow management to get answers for up to weeks at a time.

Seaspan’s parent company had also just mandated the use of JD Edwards EnterpriseOne accounting system, so a new operations system had to integrate with the accounting software. Seaspan had to decide whether to buy a system, or build it themselves.

The Solution: With dispatching and invoicing software already implemented with other cargo barging and harbor services companies, the Helm Dispatch Manager™ was a proven solution with the flexibility to integrate with the JD Edwards EnterpriseOne accounting software. Seaspan opted to buy from Helm, saving them time and money in the process.

Helm customized the cargo barging and harbor services dispatch modules and combined them into one module that allowed Seaspan’s dispatchers to run everything on one screen. The centralization of the data would allow management to do their detailed job and profit analyses with Helm’s pivot table reporting in real time.  Helm also had pilot integration built in, so Seaspan could monitor all pilot data and could track market share by port.

"Helm software has been a great decision for Seaspan Marine.  First and foremost it’s an off-the-shelf tugboat-focused system that can be customized.  Being the largest tugboat company on the West Coast of Canada, we have many operational groups with differing processes.  Helm gave us the ability to have them all working within one operating system using one process.  It also gave us the luxury of adding additional modules in the future (such as Personnel and Safety (HSQE) management) to our central system, providing flexible scalability."
- Linda Wortman, Seaspan Marine Corporation

Outcome:  The Harbor services and Cargo Barging modules are live and billing has been fully integrated with Seaspan’s EnterpriseOne accounting system. Significant efficiencies in period reporting have been realized. Furthermore, the data and profitability can be reported at a level (asset and job) not previously available. The information has been pivotal in recent analysis and business process decisions. Internal process improvements have also been realized, as Seaspan has been able to streamline many redundant and highly manual processes through the Helm system and its integration points.

As Seaspan realized the potential of a single centralized and integrated system, they have taken advantage of Helm’s ability to customize the Helm application. They have added a robust charter AP system that integrates to the EnterpriseOne purchasing and a smart accrual generation tool for barging jobs that also integrates to EnterpriseOne. Each of these customizations has improved business processes and internal reporting data at Seaspan.