The 3rd Maritime Trends Conference, organised by the travel agency Marine Tours, concluded its proceedings with great success

The 3rd Maritime Trends Conference, which was organized on 09 May 2015 by the leading travel management company Marine Tours with the cooperation of the University of Piraeus, concluded its proceedings with great success.

The conference was titled “Trends in Crew Management” and its purpose was to inform the Shipping Industry professionals regarding the modern standards in human resources management and the latest trends in the constantly changing Shipping industry.

More than 230 members from 103 shipping companies, as well as many distinguished representatives of the broader Maritime Community, honored the established event with their presence.

The multi-disciplinary profile of the conference and the very interesting presentations by the invited speakers paved the way for extremely interesting debates and to fruitful conclusions on the present and the future of the shipping industry.

In the context of the first conference panel, Mr. Panagiotis G. Avgerinos, Dry Cargo Chartering Broker at Barry Rogliano Salles (BRS), developed the current issues related to the merchandise transportation, highlighting the particularly positive performance of the wet cargo market and its promising prospects for the future. On the other hand, the dry cargo market displays unprecedented downturn, reminding the 1986-1987 period when the economic decline of Marine’s sector occurred. At the core of his speech, Mr. Theodore Chouliaras, President of the Shipping Finance Consultants UPMARITIME LONDON Ltd., emphasized the influence of geopolitical factors in the operation of the world trade and the way private capital perceives and manages shipping worldwide.

In the second panel, delegates had the opportunity to be informed by Mr. Stephen Askins, Tatham-Macinnes LLP, about the modern threats of shipping security, such as cargo theft and kidnapping. The main features of the most insecure areas of Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen and Libya were analyzed. Mr. Askins also referred to the legal coverage in case of an emergency, such as a ship attack, and highlighted the key points where a crew management company should focus in order to ensure the ship safety against such risks.

Matters of the outmost importance such as the issue of good health on board was developed by the speaker Mrs. Vivian Andria, Managing Director at Med Solutions International, who noted the crucial element of prevention and health problems management onboard (that do not require evacuation of the patient to the hospital), which has beneficial effects not only to the psychology of seamen but also to the funds of the shipping companies.

Another very interesting subject in the conference agenda, that of the energy footprint, was analyzed by Ms. Helena Athoussaki, Chief Strategist and CEO IMAREM. The speaker referred to marine’s industry mild footprint in comparison to the rest of transportation means and pointed out the crucial role that well trained crews may play on the saving of energy with positive results for both the environment and the shipping companies.

The representative of Etihad Airways, Mr. David Granville, Sales Opportunities Manager, presented his valuable experience regarding the attainment of excellent customer service. The airline is specialized in corporate travelling with focus on comfort, luxury and most of all the safety of its clients, while taking into account the budget of the company as well as the principal of environmental protection.

In the context of the last panel, delegates were briefed by Mr. Phil Parry, Chairman of Spinnaker Global Ltd, regarding alternative human resources methods in crew motivation. The speaker mentioned that higher salaries does not consist the only method to increase the efficiency of the crew but this can be achieved only through a comprehensive human resource management strategy. In the same panel the distinguished scientist Dr. Fani L.Sakellariadou presented the Postgraduate Programme “Msc in Shipping“ from the Piraeus University-Department of Maritime Studies. The speaker emphasized on the importance of ongoing education which may be essential for an outstanding career in the shipping industry.

The conference concluded its proceedings with the speech by Mr. Dimitrios Spyropoulos, Captain (Eng) HN (Ret), who developed the two main Schools of thought regarding the handling of crew psychological issues onboard and its corresponding costs. The first School focuses on the categorization of issues and the generic good practices for each category while the second School treats every problem individually looking for the best unique solution for it. Furthermore the speaker presented some interesting evaluation tools such as the crew performance matrix and pointed out that investing in human resources consists a crucial element of a company’s growth.

A key moment in the conference was the lottery which offered as a prize a scholarship to the “MSc in Shipping” Post Graduate Program of the University of Piraeus. The winner of the prize was the company “Prime Marine Management Inc”.