Twenty-first-century shipping history is littered with failed online procurement and auction sites.

So why are some of the biggest names in German shipping staking their reputation on a new one that claims to be different?

Launched this month, ShipStock is a networking and trans­action site that purports to be “the first purely online maritime ­network”.

It will go head to head with rival online valuation and auction sites and expects to complete its first vessel sales this year.