The shipping industry is going through some unprecedented trying phase. All elements of shipping be it ownership, chartering, ship management or manning is being tested. Companies that were considered solid, yards that had three years wait for new building order intake, owners who took some of the biggest bets in shipping, all are skeptical and waiting for an upward trend. Our manning business is no exception to that. Reduction in tonnage, lay-up of ships, record low price of oil, and even lower commodity movement has further acerbated the prospects of seafarers from all countries.
Therefore, in September 2016 I decided to visit Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore and meet our existing as well as prospective customers to understand what lay ahead for all of us. These three cities are the three biggest shipping hub cities in Asia and I was confident that I would get some guidance on how the business will pan out in coming years. Among shipping companies that I visited in Hong Kong represents mostly DryCargo ships owners and ship mangers. On the other hand in Kuala Lumpur my focus has been mostly LNG and Chemical Tankers. Singapore for our company represents the most diverse ship base, starting from LNG to tankers and from dry cargo to offshore vessels.
Predominantly the ship managers and ship owners in the cities I visited employ Indian, Chinese, Filipino and FSU seafarers. You also see pockets of the seafarers that tend to have niche presence from countries like Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Indonesia. Naturally, purpose of my visit was to meet my existing customers and to see how we can support them in their emerging manning needs. Further, to know the real situations in their business so that we can add value in their operations by providing them Ukrainian seafarers when they need.
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