“Knowledge is Power:” The Maritime Industry Needs more of Both, Right Now
The creator of the well known quote, “Knowledge is Power”, was Prince Machiavelli, a 6th century member of the Italian ruling classes. His words were more to do with the need to identify your enemies than education for his people. However, read within a modern and more commercial context, those words provide a banner for a powerful learning and empowerment concept that is still grossly underutilised by the martime industry. In short, the world’s cargo and transport systems are changing at lightning speed but the maritime industry appears to be stumbling as it attempts to keep up. What can we do about it?
A core issue must be the technical and management capabilities of the shore base people who run the shipping industry. These people consist of the ship owners/managers and ship service intermediaries which include brokers, banks, lawyers, suppliers, agents and shipyards etc. Two important and common questions must be posed to all such maritime industry organisations:
♦ Are you fully aware of the predicted 21st century drivers of shipping change, inclusive of big-data, 3-D printing technology, automated ships etc.?
♦ Are you satisfied your current levels of team competence and training are sufficient to meet these changes and the associated future demands of your shipping customers?
There will be many high profile martime industry organisations out there – who have a high level of competitor strategy analysis vision and future market demand awareness – who would respond to both questions with an empathic ‘Yes’. On the other hand, there will be many organisations who will not be so sure. And there will be others, struggling with a tough shipping market, who might prefer to not think about these issues and yet another expensive problem. For those who are fully aware and have a plan to deal with it, OK good.
For those of you who are unsure or might prefer not to introduce a new problem into their lives at this point in time, then you need to take stock. SeaPower’s view is that the primary goal must be to create a scenario in which your organisation can re-position itself for the globally cyclic and inevitable upturn in shipping. If accomplished, you will be ready to optimise the opportunities and returns which will be available to the maritime industry during the upturn. If you fail to recognise this scenario, then you may just survive but you will not grow, prosper or be able to re-capitalise and take (e.g. ‘buy low, sell high’) advantage before, during and throughout the next (sorry to say, inevitable) cyclic downturn.
The good news is that although shipping times are currently tough, there is help out there for Singapore based companies in the form of the generous MCF training grants for shore based employees attending both public and in-house martime executive short courses. The MCF grants work in tandem with the PIC cash rebate system, which is designed to support both training costs and equipment purchases which result in productivity increases. The end result is ultra low cost access to more knowledge and more power for the people in your martime industry organisation. The ultimate prize is the creation of an upgraded shipping knowledge base within your organisation, better equipped to meet current market challenges as well as future challenges in what will always be a highly competitive and demanding shipping market place. The investment is small in monetary terms. The potential returns are extraordinary.
Many of you may be working for maritime industry companies that have slashed both recruitment and training. OK, cutting out new recruits is understandable in an effort to cut overheads. The serious downside is that you know you are creating a very big future problem for yourself. As for training, the Singapore government is squarely behind the Singapore maritime industry and Singapore’s leadership role as a globally recognised centre of martime excellence.
Unlike every other country in Asia (with the commendable exception of Hong Kong), Singapore is “putting their money where their mouth is” to support and grow a key industry that employs 18,000 people and generates over 7% of Singapore’s total revenue. Don’t get left behind by missing the opportunity to become a shipping market ‘up-cycle’ and 21st century ‘drivers of change’ winner. “Knowledge is Power” and funding is available to support this concept. The SeaProf website contains more details.
Finally, SeaPower has commented on the support provided by Singapore and Hong Kong to its maritime industries through the provision of education and training support. Do our readers know of any other Asian countries who may be doing the same? Or any other countries at all? We would be very pleased to learn about such governmental interest and efforts, so please comment and let us know. SeaProf has applied for Membership of GlobalMET.