How small shipowners can benefit from a midsize shipmanager, highlights a Riviera news source.
Impact of the war on shipmanagement
Wild fluctuations in MR freight rates, stranded seafarers, rising costs and M&A activity were among the market uncertainties shipmanagers have had to face in the tanker sector over the last year.
“The tanker market has been very turbulent, with freight rates up, even in the S&P market, where there has been a lot of activity,” Mr Rastogi told Singapore Solutions in late January prior to the EU’s ban on Russian oil products in early February.
“One of the biggest challenges as manager has been crewing because of the geopolitical situation at the moment,” he says referring to the fallout from the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, which had left some Ukrainian seafarers in limbo.
This situation appears to be easing, according to a brief on 17 March by Danica Crewing Specialists, who reported the balance was returning between supply and demand for Ukrainian seafarers.
Crewing levels had been adversely impacted by the war in Ukraine, which at first significantly impacted the number of crew members available from that country, particularly due to travel restrictions affecting healthy men aged 18 to 60, explained Danica Crewing Specialists.
“However, most seafarers are now resettled in new countries and, with increased costs of living in other parts of Europe, they are keen to return to sea and are cutting short their unpaid shore leave periods.”
At the time of the interview in late January, “a big faction of crew (was) in a grey area,” prompting shipmanagers to look to India, the Philippines, Greece and Turkey to fulfil their crewing needs.
With a tightening of supply, Mr Rastogi says, “Crew wage demands are increasing, which affects budgets and, in turn, opex.” He says wages have increased about 10% and travel and mustering agency costs about 15% to 20%.
Established in 2016, CMVPL is an inhouse technical manager for shipowners. As a third-party manager, the Singapore-based shipmanager operates with “an owners’ approach” to shipmanagement, with the capability of providing a bespoke set of services to meet the needs of each client.
“There are a number of M&As happening (in shipmanagement),” says Mr Rastogi, “with big companies getting bigger.” He believes small shipowners “suffer more with big conglomerates” and “do not have much say when they put their ships in big pools.”
He strongly believes small shipowners can benefit from working with a midsize shipmanager like CMVPL. “Centennial is a smaller midsize company where we can tailor-make our solutions, offering a more personalised service and more transparency,” he says.
In an effort to bolster crew retention and improve crew welfare, Mr Rastogi says CMVPL has been offering seafarers larger quotas each month of wifi and providing more flexibility on ship sign-on and sign-off. In turn, he says the company is working with shipowners to understand the benefit of increasing investment in crew welfare.
These investments in crew wellness are critical, says Mr Rastogi. “We observed over the last two years in the industry, an increase in fatalities due to non-technical reasons – self-inflicted injuries. Mental wellness is one area where we are trying to concentrate,” he concludes.
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