Daniel Ward, Director of staffing services provider WRS’ Marine Division, specializes in providing both contract recruitment solutions and crew management services to clients and vessel operators globally. Ward explains how outsourcing crew management functions can help marine companies increase efficiencies.
Clearly the marine industry has had a tough time this past couple of years – links to the oil and gas sector, in particular for marine operators with oil and gas supply contracts mean that the industry at large has been hugely affected by falls in commodity prices. With offshore drilling the most expensive extraction method, the industry taken an even harder hit than onshore projects have and the maritime industry has not been immune to this – for example the offshore and marine industry in Singapore dropped by 14.5 percent in 2015, a huge fall from the record year in 2014 (The Straits Times
, May 31, 2016).
But the oil industry and the marine industry will recover, and when they do, this recovery may take some businesses by surprise. Diversifying workforces may have sought out work in other fields, and the skills shortage experts were taking about in 2014 will be further compounded – seafarers and other professionals who moved onto different industries may take higher wages to lure back in. It’s no secret that downturns can exact a price on the way back up, too (Wall Street Journal
, July 8, 2016)
Change and innovation will be key to recovery, improvement in technology can and will play a key role. One emerging trend is that shipping companies are now investing more and more in specialized vessels, such as those used in wind farm construction and heavy lift – and this means that crew in particular need to become more specialized, as newer key skills are coming to the fore.
What’s more, in the coming years considerations with regards to the environmental footprint of vessels will become more and more imperative as nations take environmental issues into consideration. Improvements happen every year, with better performance meaning reduced carbon emissions.
WRS takes the stress away from crewing vessels, by allowing clients to focus on operations. With a database of thousands of prescreened seafarers, we are able to man large projects quickly and efficiently, and our expert after care and global mobility teams take the hassle out of travel, visa applications, accommodation and contractor care.
With the industry in its current state during a downturn, we have found our clients hoping to make the most of the efficiencies available to them. More and more of our existing and new marine clients are becoming interested in crew management solutions, finding that outsourcing allows them to take advantage of a flexible workforce, both in terms of crewing and shore-based functions.
Even efficiencies of scale in travel bookings and marine fares can result in considerable savings for marine clients over the course of a contract, and these added services help to reduce time-to-hire. Likewise many of the industries served the maritime companies operate cyclically. Marine companies are now beginning to see that there is no need for them to retain office staff within low periods, so outsourcing can prove a better solution for these companies.