Mercator carves a dynamic career path in seafaring
Providing a career growth is one way to resolve the growing ship manning shortage
Mercator Shipping Lines India’s second largest private shipping company in terms of tonnage will never be short of seafarers. By offering a vibrant and motivating career path to its floating staff, Mercator Lines has broken with tradition by carving out a strategy to retain and attract the finest talent in the field in a bid to extend unmatched services to its customer.
With a fleet strength of 16 (4 tankers and 12 bulk carriers), Mercator Lines does the entire manning on their own. 12 of the ships are with its Singapore subsidiary and 4 with the Indian parent company. Over and above they own 4 dredgers and 5 tankers. Mercator boasts of having the youngest dry bulk fleet in the world with an average of 4 years.
“Whenever any seafarer joins us we offer a career path that helps the incumbent in improving himself by virtue of training and experience on board our vessels,” stated Capt Kowshik Kuchroo, Vice President – Strategy of Mercator Lines. “We advise our seafarers on how to clear their exams. We are very aggressive on promoting our own staff on board our vessel and we show great flexibility on family carriage. If justified we let a second mate or third mate also to carry his wife. Our recruitment policy for our offices is to employ primarily those who have served on our ships.”
He goes on to explain that the company is undertaking its own fleet management since the last 8 to 9 months and achieved retention of over 85%. He informed that a large number of cadets have risen from the ranks and are now 3rd engineer and several cadets are now chief officers. All of them are still serving with the company.
“We have contract completion bonus and rejoining bonus,” adds Capt Sridhar Fleet Personnel – Superintendent of Mercator Lines. “We are inducting chief engineers from our ships as superintendent in our offices when they leave the sea. We also encourage our senior masters and chief engineers to conduct audits on board our vessels for which we train them and remunerate them separately.”
H. K. Mittal, the CMD of the company says, “We plan setting up a training institute jointly with ASP Ship Management and Chowgules. To be christened MAC Marine Institute we will initially enrol 250 students. Our standard will be much higher than what is prescribed by the administration. We will absorb all the boys into our company but we will in no way compromise on our quality.
All Mercator ships have VIDEO TELL computer based training (CBTs). Before joining the ship all senior staff members are made to undergo familiarisation training which is held at the company’s cost. Two ships with the subsidiary have Filipinos crew. But as the company is in an expansion mode they are on the lookout for more Indians. Even though the company is enlisting experienced senior staff, their policy to promote their own staff internally will always supersede.