Anglo Eastern shows the way to buck the Downturn
Unfazed by the global recessionary activity Anglo – Eastern Ship Management Ltd has maintained its penchant for aggressive growth and diversification, continuing to gain momentum despite the many impediments. The company which had merely 17 vessels under management 20 years ago has raised this number to 446 vessels today much of this happening during the turbulence.
Strange but true the success for Anglo Eastern has come as a result of having people who don’t believe in taking things lying down. Peter Cremers, CEO of Anglo Eastern Group claims that the company has been doing well because the people at the top always question all that they do. “The risk is always that we project a bad picture - that we have major problems and we have problems,” Mr. Cremers concedes. “We have major problems. We are here in Mumbai as one of the biggest and best ship managers. We are here because we question everything we do and we don’t want to be complacent and take anything for granted.”
Getting down to details Capt Pradeep Chawla, Managing Director QA & Training explains the company’s strategy that helps them stay on the top. “We have made huge investments in people on the ships to ensure they will do the job right. We don’t concentrate on management so much or put too much in image building through the media, etc. We hardly advertize in comparison to our competitors nor undertake to sponsor events like a cricket tournaments, etc. We spend more time seeing that people do their jobs correctly and invest in our people trying to build up a culture of excellence. In fact every employee starts to think that they need to perform better than what has been done so far. One of the biggest contributions to our people is giving proper training. Thus, we give them a good life by providing them a safe working environment – whether it is inside Anglo Eastern or outside.”
The company has a very envious record. By having 446 ships under management it has help provide employment to 18,700 people the world over. 1,200 being in shore based duty and the rest on board. The company began recruiting from India in 1982 and today most of the personnel are Indians.
More than 18,000 people are put through a training schedule each year and in excess of 60 value added courses are conducted annually according to Capt Chawla. To ensure that the best training is imparted, every training aid and method is employed including simulators, computer / web-based learning, “Virtual classroom”, etc. Out of the 18,000 people trained 12,000 are trained in India.
“On board career is different from others because one needs to be careful of what they do,” points out Mr. Cremers. “There is always the risk of some accidents happening or loss being suffered. So you need to stress on ship owners about this extra commitment the company has. And it is a challenge for us to make sure that we create fire in our seafarers.”
In terms of training and selection of people the company has adhered to the basic policy viz., try and persuade people to do the right thing. Mr. Cremers feels that they probably are the most innovative among ship management companies. In shipping there are certain things that are totally in control of ship owners and most of them rely on getting the most expensive equipment and gadgets for running their ships. But at Anglo Eastern all importance is given to innovation in the service that is provided. As a result the company has been able to add around 40 ships consistently each year to their fleet.
Anglo Eastern has been able to diversify their business. “We have our own VLCC and we are managing 460 ships of different ship owners,” says Mr Cremers. “We have taken over a crane used for heavy lift cargo operations. We have people on-board doing construction work. We are with one of the biggest heavy lifts operators in the world.
What about the future? Peter Cremers says, “We just make sure that the company continues with its present performance. That is why we have more investment in training and in recruitment. We are thus making sure that in 10 years from now we will have provided for people to man our ships.”