Why cost-effective crewing is essential
Many ship owners struggle at times to reduce costs on crewing – which sometimes can have a negative effect on the actual business. Being cost efficient and at the same time keeping the quality of the crew can be a challenge. In this blog post, we discuss how you can optimize your crewing resources long term, without losing the many stars of your crew pool.
Is there such a thing as cost-effective crewing?
An important mission when it comes to cost-effective crewing is to assure that there’s always enough competent crew members in the pool to cover for every vessel’s and operation’s needs, without having to pay unnecessary standby wages. Who is responsible to ensure this for your vessels? A combination of both education and experience among your crew is important. Besides the obvious training, for example, that all your Masters are certified for that specific role, your crew also need additional training that is beyond Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW).
A common concern is the effort and expenses related to additional training.
· What happens if we train the crew and they leave? We like to say, what happens if we don’t and they stay? We aim to keep our stars by offering education and challenging them with responsibilities they grow from.
· Are they team players working in the same direction as the rest of the organization? At Wallenius Marine an extensive culture program and transparency is key to achieve this. It empowers our crew members to take responsibility and act independently.
· Who keeps track of certifications and upcoming needs? With a crew pool as big as ours, there’s a lot to keep track of. All vessels are managed by dedicated persons in our HR department with great support of our Masters.
A great crew pays off on the bottom line
Apart from safety matters, optimized operations is of great influence of the crew. Therefore it’s also beneficial to have a crew that has enough knowledge and insights to focus on other things than just getting to the destination as fast as possible. How trained is your crew in making sure that the ship takes the most cost-effective route, for example? How well do they communicate and share your business’ values?
With a higher level of competence and common understanding it is possible to optimize the operations in many ways – both to reduce costs and environmental impact. Ensuring availability of a competent enough crew pool may cost a bit more but will definitely pay off in the long run, both for you as a shipowner and the environment.
Optimizing crewing resources
It can be difficult to determine the actual manning level really required. One vessel might run with a crew of 19 while the sister vessel run just fine with 17. Why is that?
When you use an external ship management partner with crewing abilities, they will make sure that the crew is allocated where it is needed most. You don’t need to worry about hiring too much crew or not enough. An external ship management partner can adjust the size of the crew depending on current and upcoming needs. If the vessel and situation require additional crew for a specific reason, the number of crew members can be allocated between the vessels in the fleet. In that way, there’s always competent crew ready when and if you need them, without you having to do the time and cost consuming work yourself.
In the end, cost-effective crewing has an impact on the bottom line. But it is not about cutting down on social benefits and being cheap on training but to offer responsibility, tools and education to enhance the crew in your pool. Take good care of your crew and your crew will take good care of your vessel and cargo. And ultimately to optimize the crew size for each vessel and operation.
To make crewing more cost efficient without risking the quality is something we work a lot with at Wallenius Marine. It can be tricky, but it’s always worth it in the end – since the results are more long-lasting. How do you work with increasing crew quality and how does it affect your shipping?