Maersk Tankers has made a significant investment in a shipping data hedge fund in which Idan Ofer is a stakeholder at the same time as securing vessels from the billionaire into one of its pools.

Maersk Tankers announced this morning it was investing in CargoMetrics Technologies and would develop new digital tools with the Boston-based firm for its exclusive use.

Soren C. Meyer, chief strategy and transformation officer at Maersk Tankers, told TradeWinds the Danish owner could have bought a vessel for the sum it has invested in the project.

“Being a traditional tanker company we could have invested in a tanker rather than investing in a tech company,” he said in an interview on Wednesday.

“We see the great opportunities in this by building a bridge between the technical world and the industry world and scaling up our digital efforts faster.”

Meyer explains the shipowner’s digitalization strategy, in place since 2014, has looked to shift the basis of commercial decisions from a gut feeling to a data-driven approach.

“We are trying to challenge the paradigms of the traditional industry by linking the digital strategy into our business,” he said.

“There is an opportunity with CargoMetrics Technologies to scale up on that front.”

CargoMetrics is a ccognitive trading hedge fund that purely trades on shipping data and possesses specialized capabilities, algorithms and models to find trade signals in any commodity.

“That’s exactly what we can use on transferring to our world on the physical asset side, linking that knowledge on using data into where and when you should position your vessels,” Meyer said.

“Of course our world is different from a commodity world. We will be linking the trade signals together with our data and our people and ensuring we use that to have a strong engagement with our customs.”

Idan Ofer was one of the founding investors in CargoMetrics, alongside Google chief executive Eric Schmidt. Given the exclusivity deal between Maersk Tankers and the fund, Ofer’s Eastern Pacific Shipping would not have use of the technology the new partners developed.

“They could benefit by deploying their vessels in our pools and they have already done that by putting two MRs into our pool,” said Meyer.

“It’s actually a viable solution as the software we develop will not only be deployed on our own vessels, we deploy them on our commercial pool partner’s vessels as well. They have joined with two MRs so far.”

Maersk Tankers is one of the three remaining divisions of Maersk Energy that AP Moller-Maersk is still seeking to divest following the sale of Maersk Oil to Total this week.

Meyer says the deal with CargoMetrics is not limited to the September 2018 deadline imposed for a decision on the future ownership of the company.

“This is a strategic partnership for developing the strategy of Maersk Tankers.” He said. “When we do strategy its long-term thinking. Our focus here is very much on utilizing the technology for positioning our vessels better.”