INTERSCHALT reaches agreement on takeover of Müller+Blanck

  • Merger improves position in the global stowage planning and loading computer sector
  • Customers benefit from the optimized product range and innovation boost

Schenefeld, December 8, 2015: INTERSCHALT maritime systems AG, the provider of maritime software for cargo and fleet management, and Müller+Blanck Software GmbH, announce the conclusion of a memorandum of understanding for the acquisition of Müller+Blanck. The merger will create the world's leading provider in the area of stowage planning software and loading computers for container ships. INTERSCHALT currently has a combined market share of 25 percent with its stowage planning software StowMan and the advanced development StowMan[S], introduced to the market in 2014. With the loading computer Seacos MACS3, INTERSCHALT has an approximately 65 percent share of the container ship segment and is the undisputed global market leader.

Müller+Blanck developed the stowage planning software "CAPSTAN" as well as the onboard interface "OBI" in the mid-1990s, which are used by the liner shipping companies Hapag-Lloyd and Hamburg Süd among others. With the acquisition of Müller+Blanck, INTERSCHALT increases its market share in the stowage planning segment to 33 per cent, in terms of the number of vessels equipped, and consolidates its market leadership in the segment for loading computers for container ships.

"This transaction marks a further milestone in our transformation process, the aim of which is to further develop the maritime software business into a strong platform for growth," emphasized Robert Gärtner, CEO of INTERSCHALT in explaining the decision. "For our stowage planning segment, the acquisition is a fitting addition which we want to use to offer our customers an improved product range, based on the best both systems have to offer. This fusion enables us to ensure stable growth and profitability."

Holger Blanck, CEO of Müller+Blanck states: "We are pleased to join forces with INTERSCHALT, a company that, with the new stowage planning software StowMan[S], has impressively proven its innovative capability. We are convinced that because of the merger we will be able to offer a boost in innovation to our customers and new prospects to our employees."

It is planned that Müller+Blanck will initially continue to operate as an autonomous GmbH, under the direction of Holger Blanck, at the Schenefeld site. Jost Müller will act as the Technical Head of the Software unit. Torben Mons, who is currently responsible for the INTERSCHALT Software unit, will be additionally appointed as the co-CEO of Müller+Blanck. Both parties have agreed not to disclose the acquisition price.

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Capstan4 successfully rolled out

Capstan4 was successfully rolled out at the end of last year and proved to be a success. More details are to come the next days on these pages

M+B, Capstan4 and C3-Obi follow new SMDG recommendation on tier numbering

As from now Capstan and C3-OBI will follow the new recommendation of SMDG regarding tier numbering.

This recommendation resolves a high-impact problem arising from the fact that ISO standard 9711 is not applicable for more than 9 tiers on deck. ISO 9711 defines tiers to be numbered by 2-digit values and requires on-deck tiers to be started at 82 and rise with even numbers. Unfortunately, this approach works only for up to 9 tiers. 10 and more tiers would be numbered 100 or higher and can not be expressed by 2-digit numbers.

The resulting lack of definition for more tiers causes serious problems for Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) necessary for operation of such container vessels since electronic systems usually rely on 2-digit tier numbers.

In order to avoid a multitude of different workarounds causing high implementation efforts, SMDG (EDI User Group for Shipping Lines and Container Terminals) has issued a recommendation providing an enhancement of ISO 9711 which introduces a new numbering scheme for vessels with more than 9 tiers (download).

Müller + Blanck welcomes this long-awaited improvement and is pleased to announce that we will implement the new standard in all our products from now on.

Capstan expands its activities to scheduling

Connected to a MS-SQL database it is the first time a central planning software is interlinked to a schedule with arrival and departure dates and times.

  • You get rid of hundreds individual Excel sheets
  • You improve your workflow
  • The DB holds all voyage relevant data i.e.
  • schedule patterns
  • distance tables and
  • Ports
  • container size/types
  • operators codes
  • Edifact headers
  • Vessel details

The database is accessible either through a web-interface or directly from within the application (Capstan), thus it completely follows the Capstan philosophy of voyage planning. This is an important step forward and we will use this database for other features to come. We will keep you posted.

First customer starts using new Capstan Operational Database

The new Capstan Capstan Operational Database (COPSDB) is in operation at the first customer. COPSDB is realized by a Microsoft SQL Server 2008R2. This database centralizes storage of basic data for several planning regions on a single server and will host the data of Capstan's Coastal Module becoming available with version 3.14.2.