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Egnyte in Marine Transport: Keeping Teams Synced & Compliant

“We have already saved thousands of dollars on just one operations manual. The cost of one iteration was more expensive than a year’s worth of Egnyte.”
Barbara Hotard
Helpdesk Technician

The Challenge

Canal Barge Company found itself between new and old worlds when it came to document management. The shore side of its business was operating a modern centralized location for storing data, while its towboats were not. They could not access corporate data onboard their vessels, so it was apparent a digital solution with document version control was needed for boats with unreliable connectivity.

However, most crews were not tech savvy and needed a simple tool for tasks such as sharing navigational reports. Initially, the crews tried Dropbox, but overwriting each other’s files became a daily occurrence. Permissions weren’t controlled and it was challenging to track the file’s version history.

Barbara Hotard, Helpdesk Technician for Canal Barge, explains her process. “We used Dropbox for a while, but that got messy. It became cumbersome instead of an easy tool for the mariners to use.”

Crews also needed access to current compliance manuals in the case of audits, which are commonplace in heavily regulated industries, but this was unrealistic for non-digital or cloud-only, consumer-based solutions.

“Pushing the information to our mariners meant not having to worry about whether or not a manual was updated for compliance, because that was our [IT’s] job.”
Barbara Hotard
Helpdesk Technician

The Solution

Egnyte provided offline access to documents, ensured regulatory manuals were always accessible and up-to-date, and always easy to use. Hotard continued “We started looking for something that would solve one or two of those problems, and then we stumbled across Egnyte and realized it could solve all of them for us.”

Prior to Egnyte, Canal Barge had purchased Box licenses, but testing revealed the solution could not meet its offline sync criteria.

“Lack of offline sync was a real deal breaker. We needed to make sure our mariners had access to documents all the time, but Box can’t do that for read only documents.”

The IT team soon discovered more Egnyte benefits that secured its position as the solution for Canal Barge, such as granular permission sets.

The Results

The Egnyte desktop feature uses a familiar format of folders and files so the mariners intuitively started dragging and dropping documents into their rightful place.

According to Hotard, “Usually you get a lot of push back with new IT projects because people don’t want to see change. But almost immediately people were saying, ‘This makes my life easier’ and that led to rapid adoption.”

“Egnyte does a better job of providing options around what roles you can assign, how in depth you can go, and then creating groups for those users.”

Compliance document process: operations manual

Old Process:
  • Print one manual per boat on special control document paper.
  • Mail the manual to each boat, receive signatures from both captains acknowledging updates.
  • Captain mails old version back to shore. If document is lost during shipping, process is restarted.
  • Shore team must properly dispose of old manual.
Egnyte Process:
  • Searchable PDF placed in Egnyte can be easily updated or accessed offline.
  • Make changes digitally and save to same location; version history automatically maintained for compliance and only the changed portions are synced to save time.

These efficiency gains were repeated across a number of processes and documents, often halving the time of each task. “[Requisitions] used to take hours to do, and now they’re finished in a matter of minutes…” For Canal Barge, deploying Egnyte has hit all the right buttons, and best of all, it was easy.


Starting almost a century ago in 1933 with a single barge along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, Canal Barge company now moves valuable cargo for Fortune 500 companies around the world.



New Orleans, LA

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