Info-tech

Meet Leena Asher, the creator of I-Demurrage app

P Manoj Mumbai | Updated on August 16, 2019 Published on August 16, 2019

Leena Asher, the creator of the I-Demurrage

The app to calculate demurrage, a first in the shipping industry

Demurrage is a technical term often used in the shipping industry. Simply put, it is a charge which is payable to the ship owner for extra usage of the ship’s time.

But, it is not as straightforward as its definition is, and it is certainly not a simple calculation, making it a very complex and niche function of the shipping industry.

And, this is where Dubai-raised and Houston-based Leena Asher, an oil and gas industry executive for two decades, made her “breakthrough innovation” by developing an app that allows demurrage analysts to calculate the penalty “on the go when they are not in office”.

The app is used by the industry analysts on a global basis who have downloaded the mobile application.

First app

I-Demurrage, Leena explained in a phone interview, is the first of its kind because no one in the industry before took the initiative and this is where she used her experience and background, working with various ship owners and charterers, to build an app.

Most shipping companies are very restrictive about the software used, so no one has been able to come up with an app for calculating demurrage. “I built the app because I realised when I was travelling and out of office, there was no way to calculate the demurrage,” she explained.

Leena, an Indian by origin, is a demurrage specialist for over ten years of the 17-odd years she has worked at a multi-national oil and gas giant in various roles, both in upstream and downstream sides. “I started doing demurrage when I got into oil trading at the firm,” she said.

Demurrage is largely governed by contracts. There are two types of contracts that governs demurrage: the charter party (a legal document signed by the ship owner and the charterer) and the oil contracts.

There are multiple charter parties used globally and every charter party is negotiated individually and its clauses can also be amended during the currency of the charter party.

“In my app, I give users the option to pick the base of the charter party and they can actually eventually, when the calculation comes into the e-mail, whoever they send it across to, see that the demurrage has been calculated basis a particular/specific charter party”.

Leena developed the app with her own funds. “The reason why I kept the app to myself so far, is that it is very hard for me to converse with people who are not in the industry, on how the app works,” the mother of two says.

This may be about to change. “I’m in talks with people who are interested to collaborate with me, maybe we’ll talk about some equity sharing in the app,” she said.

Published on August 16, 2019
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