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Thomas Gunn Navigation Services Limited, the international chart supply specialist, has become the leading distributor of UKHO digital charts.

The UK Hydrographic Office, which has 140 distributors worldwide, has confirmed that Thomas Gunn is the most prolific distributor of digital charts. And the company itself reveals that sales of digital charts have doubled over the past two years with this trend set to continue.

Thomas Gunn, founder of the company and Managing Director, says: “We are delighted to have such strong confirmation that our services are so widely sought after. This news vindicates our business model and demonstrates that we have moved in the right direction to meet our customers’ needs and forthcoming ECDIS implementation.”

Over recent years Thomas Gunn Navigation Services Limited (TGNS) has invested heavily in technology and personnel to create its own in-house digital products department and has boosted its in-house IT resources to meet changing customer requirements and the modern demand for digital charts. In addition the firm has been very proactive in its customer support.

Thomas Gunn adds: “We regularly hold seminars for our existing customers, either in-house or at their offices wherever they are in the world, gathering their superintendants together and giving a two-hour presentation with a question and answer session following. It’s all about getting ahead of the ECDIS mandate. Forward-thinking shipping companies realise the benefits of making their officers familiar with the use of electronic charts and digital products ready for when they become compulsory so that they are trained and up to speed.”

Demand for digital chart supply is widespread throughout the shipping industry but TGNS reports it is particularly strong at present from the tanker, chemical and gas carrier markets.

A worldwide customer network also boosts TGNS’s sales figures. In addition to its own wholly owned offices in Aberdeen, London, Piraeus, Turkey and Vancouver, the company has formed global partnerships in strategic locations around the world.

Thomas Gunn says: “What it takes to hold on to that number one slot is continued focus, continued quality of advice and service to our customers, a high degree of market knowledge and knowledge of the impending needs of the market. We are fortunate to employ a number of highly-experienced former Masters and officers who help us to ensure that what we are delivering meets our customers’ needs. We are always striving to go forward and expand.”

Mike Robinson, UKHO Chief Executive says: “The success of the industry’s transition to digital navigation relies on its ability to navigate confidently with official ENCs. The UKHO has placed huge emphasis on delivering that coverage and today there is official berth-to-berth coverage between 2,165 trading ports worldwide and more than 10,600 charts. But the successful sale and implementation of those ENCs is down to our partners such as Thomas Gunn, who provide shipping companies with the insight and support they need to make every stage of navigation safer and more efficient.”