Nautical chart agency upgrades technology to increase exports

Invest Northern Ireland is helping North Down-based Todd Chart Agency enhance its technological capability to capitalise on lucrative export opportunities.

Todd Chart Agency supplies electronic and paper versions of sea navigation maps to merchant shipping companies, individual ship-owners and leisure sailors worldwide. It has a particularly strong client base in Europe and the United States.

By upgrading its information technology (IT) systems, the company will be able to respond to an emerging customer preference to be invoiced in US dollars. This project follows the publication of chart prices in US dollars worldwide, by an internationally recognised publisher of electronic charts.

Invest NI has offered over £7,000, part financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), towards the total project costs of almost £20,000.

Commenting on the investment, Olive Hill, Invest NI’s Director of Technology and Process Development, said: “Todd Chart Agency has experienced considerable success in recent years by exploiting niche markets through Invest NI-backed visits to high value customers.

“This latest project is helping the company adapt its technology so it can maintain relationships with existing clients, strengthen its appeal amongst potential new clients and further accelerate growth in export markets.”

Captain William Todd, Managing Director of Todd Chart Agency, said: “With electronic chart outfit prices in this sector ranging from £350 to £10,000 per vessel, there are highly profitable worldwide opportunities for our company.

“As an increasing number of customers are asking us to provide invoices in US dollars, we decided that it was critical to meet this demand effectively. Invest NI is helping us to quickly install new information systems, integrating our accounting and email system so we will be able to send invoices to clients electronically in US dollars, without delay.

“The new technology being introduced is more resilient and reliable than the old system, meaning that we will be even more confident that our orders are being processed efficiently and an even better service will be delivered for our clients.”

Todd Chart Agency has previously been offered support from Invest NI to improve its customer relationship management function and undertake business development visits in Europe, India and the United Arab Emirates.