The Global Maritime Industry Faces Five Critical Issues

Donald Anderson, senior advisor at Dynama outlines the five major benefits of deploying an integrated crewing solution to support the future of shipping

According to IHS Markit(i),there are five critical issues influencing the investor landscape in the global shipping industry today: (1) Vessel supply (the number of new build ship orders is falling, leading to the collapse of shipyards), (2) A shortage of high quality seafarers, (3) Managing change during a time of corporate realignment including merger and acquisition activity, (4) Corruption and (5) Trade policy uncertainty across the globe. It’s a scary situation because without investment, the industry and all who work in it will suffer and ultimately witness a decline in opportunities.

At Dynama we believe the first step in weathering these potential storms is getting your own ship in order by keeping track of your fleet and crew members, then by staying in touch on-and-offshore. However, have you ever thought about the wider implications of what you do on a daily basis? What impact does it have on the serious issues affecting the worldwide maritime industry?

It is generally recognised that technology is a great enabler and if it can help support your own business, why couldn’t it support the industry as a whole? Surely someone like an IT support company in London could assist many elements of the industry? Although some of the issues are, to a large extent, beyond the control of most of us and in the hands of governments and policy-makers, there’s no harm in thinking big. Here are five very good reasons why deploying an integrated crewing solution can create a culture of discipline and best-practice that has wide-reaching and positive consequences for the global maritime industry of the future.

1.Discipline begins with improved connectivity and clear visibility – harnessing the power of modern technology and communications promotes high levels of discipline including consistent, high performing behaviors that lower costs and maximizes profits.

Good communication can make all the difference. Take advantage of one central solution that connects with HR and project management systems on-and-offshore to provide an accurate picture of crew movements, staff and contractors, at any time. A birds-eye view and automatic notifications can flag up when passports, visas, discharge books and ID documents need updating, before they expire to facilitate timely travel and ensure projects are executed on time and on budget. Maritime industry workers can also benefit from two-way radios or walkie-talkies that ensure consistent communication between all members of staff at sea and in areas where mobile reception is poor. If your workforce does not already have two-way radios, then you might want to reach out to a New York City Motorola radio dealer for expert advice and guidance about how best to proceed.

2. Upskill your crew – the BIMCO/International Chamber of Shipping Manpower (ii)identified a staggering need for an additional 147,000 officers by 2025 to service the world’s merchant fleet. It also revealed that the Philippines and Russia are an important source of senior crew, followed closely by Ukraine and India. Therefore, it pays to look globally when hiring staff, making the ability to use technology to take a global view of crew optimization and resourcing essential. It also helps to widen the net for international freight delivery that many freight companies, such as Plexus Freight will now access due to the growing need for international trade around the world.

The sophisticated functionality of workforce optimization (WFO) solutions makes sure crew are always in the right place at the right time and that information is exchanged between on-and-offshore staff. WFO should be considered a strategic training tool that maximizes your human capital in the following ways:

-Personnel appraisal templates can be used onboard vessels and then transmitted shore side to facilitate relevant and ongoing training programs
– Helps maintain a digital officer matrix to determine which senior crew members should work together to provide the relevant levels of experience to pilot a vessel.

3.Be in control to weather uncertainty – modern cloud-based solutions put ship owners and vessel managers in complete control of their fleet by providing easy but secure access to dynamic online data. This helps them to deal with whatever uncertainties lie ahead. By bringing information together into one place, including people assignment and deployment, staff qualifications and competencies, regulatory compliance, travel plans and documentation it is possible to reduce duplicated effort, the administration burden and staff costs to pave the way for effective crew continuity and increased profitability.

Furthermore, the latest WFO solutions are a barometer of the future with unique timeline management capabilities that can analyze current resource competences and model for future requirements.

4.Be safe – modern software-as-as-service (SaaS) resource planning tools can be securely tailored for use by masters, shore side planners and managers to offer a single version of the truth and remove security issues based on a mixture of different data storage solutions, such as multiple spreadsheets and/or a number of different management information systems.

5.Compliance at all times – changes made to the crew list, by the vessel, are automatically notified to shore. This joined up approach to planning and scheduling gives everyone the confidence that vessels and projects are properly manned, will pass audit and are in full compliance with the STCW (Standards of Training, Certification and Watching for Seafarers) and the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) regulations. This keeps crew members safe and avoids penalties for non-compliance with industry legislation.