Re-framing the Human Factor in Shipping

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Credits: Shraga kopstein/Unsplash

Shipping is a notoriously traditional industry, but the pandemic and generational change are forcing reform across relationships at sea and ashore, reports Riviera Maritime Media.

Human factors in shipping

Inclusivity was at the heart of the discussion on the human factors in shipping, held during the Tanker Shipping & Trade Conference, Awards & Exhibition 2022, in Athens in November.

Key issued covered included training, retaining and developing new staff. The first case study of the session was presented by MTM Maritime Group global business development Dimitris Harbis, who noted that computer-based training can enhance the classroom experience. This is especially relevant as there is a shortage of teachers available.

The Covid pandemic drove this process forward and the systems are data-rich and interactive. “The visual aspect is extremely immersive,” he said. He noted that maintaining a connection to home helped sustain mental health, while access to the internet is now one of the prime concerns for any seafarer: a crew member will sooner switch ship for an extra 100Mb per month that US$100 per month.

Connectivity is a recognisable concern

Connectivity is a recognisable concern of millennials (those born 1981 – 1996), noted DORIAN LPG HSQE Superintendent Aristotelis Ktenas during his presentation. He suggested millennials have unique concerns about their sea-based and shore-based careers.

He said that to attract millennials and retain seafarers, companies need certain requirements: a social presence and inclusive workplace; work that is cause driven; and clear professional development with a sustainable career path. At all times, there needs to engagement and feedback through all channels.

The Conference was lucky to have Elpi Petraki also speak on the subject. Ms Petraki is president of the Women International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA), and ENEA Management Inc chartering & business development manager and second vice president of the Hellenic Shortsea Shipowners Association (HSSA).

Importance of data analysts in shipping

She stressed the growing importance of data analysts in shipping. There is now a tremendous amount of data flowing from ship to shore, but, she noted, training schools are still teaching practices that were relevant 20 years ago. Ms Petraki was of the opinion that shipping must diversify: “We need every smart person out there to help our industry,” she said.

The panel was divided on the question of whether the time has come to make seafarers shareholders in vessels. Being a shareholder brings inclusivity, but it also comes with responsibilities and liabilities.

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Source: Riviera Maritime Media

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