A FORCE FOR CHANGE
PLAYING A MORE STRATEGIC GAME
2020 ISSUE FIVE
WHERE PEOPLE MATTER
4 WALLEM WORLD
BASSNET: WORKING TOGETHER, WORKING BETTER
A FORCE FOR CHANGE SEA VIEW
PLAYING A MORE STRATEGIC GAME
MARKETING, AN ESSENTIAL LINK
WHERE PEOPLE MATTER
Contributors: Dickson Chin; Pedro Escarra; Rachel C. Feliciano; Abhijit Ghosh; Yvette de Klerk; Joan Lee; Lynette Lim; Maren Moxom; Silvina Rosa Chianica Pambo; Lidia Selivanova; Priyanka Shah; Naznin Shamim; Suryansh Srivastava; Kevin Tester (JLA Media) Design: Jodie Graves Subscription: firstname.lastname@example.org
MESSAGE FROM THE CEO
A TRIBUTE TO THE TEAM T
here is little doubt about the heroic work by our seafarers. The strength they have shown is exemplary and beyond the call of duty. We have to continue to work to get them changed out and consider their welfare. Through these tough and unusual times, we often forget of the work being done ashore. We can easily forget how hard many of the team ashore are working as well, especially in crewing, who support the sailors. But, also all of Wallem has been working hard throughout the COVID crisis. This edition of the magazine pays tribute to those who are supporting the transformation of Wallem, the dedication of the staff to the sea crew and the sterling work being done by all. At Wallem, we walk the talk on diversity and inclusion, we hire the best and focus on skills and attitude, not checkboxes of the politically correct. The best person gets the job and contributes to the work we all are doing to take Wallem to the next level. As 2020 draws to a close, I want to take a moment to wish everyone the very best, and to hope for a better and more normal 2021.
Frank J Coles Chief Executive Officer Wallem Group
Charity applauds Frank Coles for bringing crewing crisis to the world’s attention
Charity organisation Mission to Seafarers has acknowledged Wallem CEO Frank Coles’ crusade to bring the crewing crisis that has engulfed the shipping industry since the start of the pandemic to the attention of world media and to prompt governments to act in tackling the emergency. He was handed the prestigious Secretary General Award for the person and company that has shown ‘sustained efforts to improve seafarers’ welfare at sea or ashore’ at a ceremony that took place virtually on 6 November. In a short video message, he dedicated the award to all the seafarers and their families, many of whom have struggled to cope in these challenging times. He thanked the crewing departments in Wallem and throughout the sector for their exceptional efforts as they navigated rapidly changing restrictions on cross-border travel and facilitated crew changeovers wherever they could. Frank went on to praise the Mission to Seafarers and other charity organisations for doing their utmost to assist the crew struggling the most as changeover delays turned from weeks into months. A change of tone followed as he condemned national governments for failing to recognise the scale of the problem and for their inaction: “They have acted selfishly and demonstrated a complete lack of leadership.”
Time and again, when shipping’s representative organisations came up short, Frank stepped in to fight the corner not only of Wallem’s 7,000 managed crew, but of all of the men and women who keep global trade moving, consistently proposing pragmatic solutions. Not only was he first to raise the alarm on the crew-change issue in the trade press in February; he brought the issue to the attention of major news outlets including the New York Times and the South China Morning Post, and in doing so significantly amplified the calls for seafarers to be designated as keyworkers, which had previously fallen on deaf ears. Through demonstrating strong leadership Frank displayed solidarity with the thousands of crew who remained stranded at sea and an unequivocal willingness to protect and advance their interests.
Wallem takes four DSD newbuilds into management
Wallem has taken Stavanger Pride – the last of four newbuild tankers ordered by DSD Shipping – into management. The latest delivery brings the number of tankers entrusted to Wallem by the Norwegian owner to eight. As previously reported, the DSD Shipping newbuilds coming into Wallem management are 49,999 DWT IMO 2 product/chemical tankers featuring a range of environmentally friendly technologies,
including UV ballast water treatment plants, SOx exhaust gas scrubbers and MAN 6G50 ME-9.5C “Green” ultra-long stroke prime-movers with HP-SCR (High Pressure Selective Catalytic Reduction), designed to optimise fuel efficiency and meet NOx Tier III requirements for operation in Emission Control Areas. To ensure the vessel’s 22 crew members reached the newbuild to take up their duties amid travel restrictions and public health requirements imposed by the pandemic was a major logistical exercise that called for careful planning and teamwork every step of the way. The first step was to assemble a backup team of 14 crew who were placed on stand-by in case any of the original joiners were unable to reach the vessel for health reasons. After taking Covid-19 tests, all 36 were placed into quarantine for 11 days in Mumbai, India. When none of the tests came back as positive and none of the group showed symptoms after their isolation, the original party departed for Vietnam. Thanks to meticulous logistical preparation, onward transport and connections proceeded without unexpected setbacks. Having safely reached the Stavanger Pride, the crew set about preparing for sea trials. The smooth execution was helped by leveraging experience gained transferring 44 crew members to sister vessels Stavanger Pearl and Stavanger Poseidon
‘Spread of 2S’, corresponding to two of five elements in the 5S philosophy aimed at optimising workspace and workflows to boost teamwork and safety, reduce hazards, prevent waste and raise productivity. Wallem’s shore team provided toolkits and collaborated closely with Masters serving aboard NYK vessels to assist them put the 2S philosophy into practice. As a result of this teamwork, all ships achieved ‘outstanding’ results – a fact acknowledged by NYK’s Safety Team and reflected in significant improvements in the vessels’ safety KPIs over the period. both delivered in August. At the time, Vietnam had all but closed its borders to international travellers, with stringent documentation requirements imposed by local immigration authorities to set foot in the country. Despite the mixed nationalities of the crew, the Wallem Crewing Team were able to gather and complete all the necessary paperwork. The final stage of the operation was to organise air travel – this time involved a changeover in Incheon, South Korea. Both legs of the journey were on specially chartered aircraft. After the 44 crew arrived in Vietnam together with travel leaders Capt Saketh Reddi and 2nd Officer Karan Singh Chavan, and completing the required 14-day quarantine, they reached the newbuilds exactly on schedule to commence the sea-trials.
NYK commends Wallem’s safety drive
Wallem picked up an award for its achievements in promoting safety at an event held by Japanese shipping line NYK in October. The win was announced during a virtual conference on fleet safety management where ship management companies responsible for NYK vessels were invited to share details of initiatives aimed at fostering a safety culture.
Wallem Ship Agency update
As Singapore looks to resume leisure travel amid coronavirus pandemic in the form of so called cruise-to-nowhere, Wallem is working closely with our principal Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, to restart their operations. At the same time, the team in Singapore has welcomed Norwegian Escape (Norwegian Cruise Lines) for their drydocking at SEMBCORP on 4-11 October. Vale, one of the largest logistics operators in Brazil, has renewed Wallem’s appointment as its port agent in Singapore. Singapore is a bunkering port for Vale.
After 2S The Brush Up on Safety Awareness competition included two categories – the first covering ‘Safety Management System Enhancement’ and second being
Mission to Seafarers raises alarm over long-term pandemic impact
Seafarers continue to face a bleak future in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to findings presented in the latest Seafarers Happiness Index, compiled by The Mission to Seafarers. The survey, undertaken with the support of Wallem Group and the Shipowners’ Club, reports on the experiences of seafarers between July and September 2020. This period saw some welcome action to address the dire situation facing the world’s seafarers in the midst of COVID-19, including the ongoing crew change crisis, but still fell short of the comprehensive response that is needed from the international shipping community in the face of the second wave of the pandemic. Reacting to the findings, Wallem CEO Frank Coles said: “The index is a measure of the incompetent leadership of world governments to recognise and support seafarers. We need to start listening to our seafarers and urging governments to confirm their status as keyworkers and open their borders to them as a matter of urgency.” The Seafarers Happiness Index serves as a barometer of seafarer wellbeing based on analysis and interpretation of the responses given to an online survey conducted every three months. To read the latest Seafarers Happiness Index report, click here
Change in the Wallem Management Team
Average Age 8
A FORCE FOR CHANGE CEO Frank Coles explains how the technological transformation and organisational change taking place across Wallem is necessary. It is not just to survive and remain relevant in a rapidly changing and uncertain world – but to prosper
allem is undergoing a profound transformation. We are rolling out new technological platforms, such as BASSnet and SEDNA, introducing new practices, appointing new people in many roles. Significantly we are also becoming a more diverse and dynamic organisation. The changes currently taking place at Wallem are not decided on a whim. On the contrary, they hold the key to Wallem retaining its world-leading position in a rapidly evolving world. Our strategy is grounded on three fundamentals: supporting quality through safety, transparency through technology and service through support. As always, the industry is subject to both ups and downs in the global economy and unpredictable jolts in global geopolitics. For these reasons, it would be irresponsible for us not to take steps and prepare ourselves today. Last July we deployed new cloudbased software designed to reduce paperwork and simplify workflows in our agency business. Simplifying documentation and actions required in port calls has enables our agents to enhance service quality and consistency for customers worldwide. A month later we brought in SEDNA, a collaborative platform providing team inboxes allowing staff to work together on incoming messages and increase responsiveness to customers. Integrated with the Agency System, it formed a key component of a broader digital transformation aimed at streamlining interactions with customers and improving transparency through the intelligent use of technology. This will make its way across the
whole organisation. Our new fleet management system, BASSnet, serves as the backbone for realising our vision to become the leading provider of technology-driven maritime services. It will standardise ship processes and represents a total solution for maintenance, safety, operational and financial management services on a fleet-wide basis. It will make us the first ship management company to implement a complete suite of integrated software without customization, laying to rest the myth that ship operations were somehow different and required multiple layers of overlapping technology. Offering transparency, analytics and business intelligence is the way forward for high-performance fleet management and implementing a complete enterprise solution in the form of BASSnet will allow us to integrate the power of big data with our business processes. We have become a more diverse organisation. More women seafarers sail on Wallem managed ships than ever before. A similar picture can be seen in our management team. From having only one woman in the management team, we’ve now almost reached parity with seven men and five women. In the process, the mean age of our senior team has dropped twenty years, from 61 years to under 41 years. In terms of nationalities too, we have also changed the senior team spread and have a wider global spread. To put these initiatives into context, it’s worth reviewing how far we’ve come as an industry and what still has to be achieved. The most encouraging change in recent years is the increased awareness of technology and recognition of its role in the years ahead.
more diverse organisation
It has, however been slow in translating awareness into action. Many claim this is due to shipping’s inherently ‘conservative’ culture. In my view that interpretation is too simplistic. I think it more likely stems from a mismatch in what vessel owners, operators and managers need and what it is available from the OEMs and technology providers. This has come about because the former are often poor at articulating their requirements and the latter prefer building what they want to build instead of listening properly to what their customers really need. As a result, we see a continuing stream of one-off innovations and proprietary solutions that miss the mark. But it doesn’t have to be this way. The situation could be turned around if there were greater collaboration - not only between owners and OEMs but involving all stakeholders. Of course, calling for collaboration is one thing. Making it happen is altogether another thing. Clearly IMO is not the right setting. Its legions of government representatives and bureaucrats are hardly known for engaging in candid and constructive conversations. And besides they are often too distant from where the action is. What’s needed is a grouping that better represents those on the frontline of vessel operation and key commercial stakeholders. It strikes me that stakeholders such as charterers are in a position to be far more vocal and pro-active in exerting their influence. All the glib talk about corporate social responsibility (CSR) could be harnessed as a force for creating positive change. It could have been exercised more effectively in pushing for action to resolve the crewing crisis, for example. Looking ahead, it could be applied to accelerate the transition to cleaner vessels. So far they’ve mostly proved hesitant, preferring instead to sit back and wait for owners to build new greener tonnage. If you look carefully, there are glimmers of hope. A few enlightened charterers are pushing for a switch to dual-fuel ships, for instance. Imagine what could be achieved if this power were harnessed on a much greater scale. The actions of these frontrunners mirror conversations happening more widely across the industry: everyone is talking about dual-fuel operation,
whether with LNG, ammonia, or even hydrogen. The changes currently being implemented at Wallem will ensure we have the correct digital infrastructure in place so that we can handle whatever new fuels, new engine types or other novel technologies emerge. This infrastructure is necessary because regardless of what combinations of fuel or hardware emerge, they will be more complex and sophisticated than today’s conventional machinery arrangements. It will be brimming with hard-wired sensors generating streams of data, which in turn can be exploited for optimisation and smarter decision-making – both operationally and commercially. New technology invariably creates new challenges. We must pay attention so that we do not repeat past mistakes and remember always that, whatever the technology in question, it should make the work of crew easier, not harder. To the first point, we have to stop the practice of simply layering new technology on top of old. Common examples include maintaining paper charts while navigating on ECDIS, or continuing to update paper logs for, say, oily water separators while having a digital system that does the same but better. This administrative waste puts an unnecessary additional burden on already overworked crew. To the second point, while the trend is towards greater automation, these systems must be overseen by highly trained and competent operators. Crew will have to acquire new skills and competencies to cope with novel technologies in terms both of their day-today operation and maintenance and understanding associated regulatory or compliance requirement. It is no longer acceptable to simply expect people to pick things up on the job. It is encouraging that simulation and online training is becoming more widespread, and that the use of virtual reality is gaining acceptance. Most important of all is how we treat and support our people. Too much micro-managing can be counterproductive and breed resentment. At Wallem, we believe in our people. We trust, respect and, above all, empower them to perform their role to their utmost ability and act in the interest of the company as a whole.
What’s needed is a
grouping that better represents those
on the frontline of vessel operation
and key commercial stakeholders.
SEA VIEW What do you most enjoy or find most rewarding about working at sea?
There are many things. Realising the immensity of sea and wonder of nature. The opportunities to peep through the windows of so many cultures. Time to think, plan and set goals. And decent wages.
Silvina Rosa Chianica Pambo was born and grew up in Cabinda, Angola. She joined Wallem in 2010 as an aspiring ETO. Although slightly overwhelmed when she climbed onboard her first ship, she hasn’t looked back.
hat first triggered your interest in shipping?
My interest in shipping was fired by a desire to do something altogether different from most women. Looking back to my childhood, I can say I was always competitive and jumped at challenges. At high school I studied electronics and telecommunications as it would open the door to a career in engineering and allow to work with my hands.
After deciding you wanted to work at sea, how did you turn that dream into a reality?
I applied and was selected for a place on a cadetship program run by Sonangol, the Angolan state oil company, which taught me a lot about the marine field generally. At the same time, it let me progress my education on a four-year degree in engineering in Electrical and Electronics Engineering (Marine) at AMET University. This was enough to meet the criteria for becoming an electro-technical officer, or ETO. It was rewarding but it was hard being away from my family.
What do you most appreciate about the way Wallem supports its seafarers?
It’s positive attitude to gender equality, the way seafarers and office staff interact and support each other, and, above all, the weight it gives to upholding a safety culture.
What plans do you have for advancing your career?
My original aspiration was to become a full ETO. I’ve now been in that rank for two years, so I’m beginning thinking about future development. There are still things I can learn further as an ETO but I’m exploring the possibility of a marine technical superintendent program.
What advice would you give a young person considering becoming a seafarer?
You need resilience. It’s not an easy life and you have to make certain sacrifices – but I suppose that’s true of many careers. It takes time to settle into the role and life at sea, so a positive attitude is vital: stay brave and keep at it, because ultimately it is a very gratifying career that can take you far.
What surprised you when you joined your first ship?
It is already ten years ago, but I distinctly remember the mix of excitement and anxiety I felt when I stepped on board as an engine cadet for the first time. Initially I was overwhelmed by the ship’s size and height of the ladder I had to climb to simply to board it. I didn’t realise how hot it can get in the engine room and the sheer amount of machinery and equipment there.
I chose Wallem for its positive attitude to Rachel C. Feliciano joined Wallem three years ago. Currently serving as a second officer, she points to Wallem’s transparency in her career prospects as the reason she’s staying with the company What first triggered your interest in shipping?
To be completely truthful, the prospect of a good salary combined with the chance to travel across the globe was very enticing when I was deciding which direction I wanted to go at college. I felt reasonably confident too that I had the right set of strengths for a career at sea. The rest, as they say, is history.
After deciding you wanted to work at sea, how did you go about turning that dream into a reality?
I did not give up. I made sure I watched everything and asked everyone I met and worked with along the way lots of questions so I could learn rapidly. I also set clear goals on what I next want to achieve and promised myself to put the work in to make it happen. Such dedication is a essential.
What made you choose Wallem?
From the very beginning Wallem made it clear what and where my career could go. This upfront transparency is a big part of the reason I’m still with the company. Another part is the assurance they gave that I would be well supported if I decide to go further in the profession.
What surprised you when you joined your first ship?
What most amazed me was how much you can actually accomplish in a single day. Sometimes the vessel could finish loading at one port and sail to the next all within 24 hours. There are times when it’s tiring doing back to back works with limited manpower, but nothing beats that feeling of accomplishment when you finish the job or even just get a stubborn piece of equipment to finally work.
What do you find rewarding about working at sea?
I appreciate fulfilment that comes after a day of hectic port calls and the long hours of simultaneous operation. It is rewarding when we work together on a hard job that needs urgent attention and then completing it within the day. I appreciate the small wins like repairing of equipment, passing inspections and resolving other problems that sometimes suddenly just pops out especially when you are in the middle of the sea. When I go to my cabin, I know deep down that I’ve achieved something – even if I am away from my family.
gender equality and the weight it gives to upholding a safety culture.
What advice would you give a young person considering a career at sea?
Work hard. Grab whatever opportunities you can to gain knowledge and experience – especially onboard – and then apply it in your everyday tasks. Learn to ask for help when you need it because teamwork is essential to finish a job safely and efficiently. But remember to find balance as rest and recovery is just as important for your wellbeing. Being healthy physically, mentally and emotionally means you can give your best and deliver on whichever task given to you.
Naznin Shamim joined Wallem in 2014 after she was inspired by a chance encounter with India’s first female marine engineer. Naznin is currently serving as a third engineer. What first triggered your interest in shipping?
I was inspired by witnessing with my own eyes India’s first female engine cadet, Sonali Banerjee, receive her graduation certificate. My father, Md. Shamim Ahmad Ansari, worked at the Indian Maritime University in Kolkata (at the time Taratalla Kolkata) and he took me along to the ceremony as his guest – maybe he knew it would trigger something inside me. It was 2006 and I was still at school but seeing the Governor of West Bengal hand Sonali her certificate in marine engineering definitely left a deep impression.
After deciding you wanted to work at sea, how did you go about turning that dream into a reality?
In those days training to become a marine engineer was costly compared to other disciplines but my father supported and encouraged me every step of the way. The journey did have its bumps. On the day of my entrance exam to ITU, I came down with a high fever. When the results came in, I had missed the admission score by a single mark! We didn’t give up. I went on to attain a high enough score on the West Bengal Joint Engineering entrance exam to get a place on a BTech in Marine Engineering at Neotia institute of Technology in Marine and Science.
What made you choose Wallem?
On missing IIT I was hearted to build my career in Shipping through Wallem as a large number of Marine Engineering cadets were placed by the Wallem and in IMU but the noble decision put the ointment on my cut by offering opportunity of providing campus placement to the top few Marine cadets of IMU including myself being the W.B.U.T topper in Marine Engineering discipline.
What surprised you when you joined your first ship?
I was mentally prepared to be away from my real family, so the biggest surprise was when I gained a new family at sea. Everyone onboard from the lowest to the highest rank not only warmly welcomed me as the newest member of the team but they made time to offer me their full support as I acclimatized to the new environment and in my training.
What do you most enjoy or find most rewarding about working at sea?
There are lots of benefits of working at sea. Less air pollution for
a start. You escape all the little daily stresses that mount up with a normal job on land, like the commuting. You leave behind the social and political issues that seem to dominate the TV news and our lives these days. Having to work as part of a team and to rely on each other teaches you useful life skills and build new friendships.
What do you most appreciate about the way Wallem supports its seafarers?
Before you get anywhere near a real ship, Wallem educates and trains its seafarers ensuring they know everything they need to perform their job safely and securely. I’ve found everyone on the ship is friendly, kind and cooperative regardless of rank.
What are your career aspirations?
My long-term goal is to become chief engineer. The first step is to clear my MEO class 1 examination and get promoted to Second Engineer.
What advice would you give a young person considering following in your footsteps?
It’s important to have clear aim in sight, whether deck officer or engineer, and then be ready to put in the effort to meet that aim. Your supervisors and superiors are a great source of knowledge and experience so always listen carefully to what they have to say. In return you must follow their instructions in a disciplined way. Mentally prepare yourself for living and working away from your family as it can be a struggle, especially at first.
TECHN OLOGICAL TRANSFORMATION
WORKING TOGETHER, WORKING BETTER Wallem’s new ERP platform will usher in an era of unprecedented collaboration between shore and sea staff and smarter communication across different teams and departments, bringing more benefits to shipowners
he roll-out of our new fleet management system BASSnet marks a major step forward in the realisation of Wallem Group’s company vision of becoming the world’s leading provider of technology-driven maritime solutions. BASSnet is an enterprise-wide platform designed specifically to close the gap between vessel and shore operations where all stakeholders operate in a truly transparent and collaborative environment. By enabling greater standardisation across the company, its introduction will bring significant benefits in the way we manage the operation, safety, maintenance and financial performance of
ships in the Wallem fleet. It will help tackle the mounting burden on seafarers as they contend with increasing compliance demands and more stringent regulatory landscape in addition to the technical complexities of ship operation. Having all data at your fingertips will eliminate frustrating delays, resulting in a productivity boost that will enable us collectively to provide our customers with a better level of service and contribute to the bottom line. It will dramatically improve transparency and, most important of all, deliver a better service to our customers. Below we describe just a handful of the expected benefits:
BASSnet will dramatically improve transparency and, most important of all, deliver a better service to our customers.
OPERATIONS BASSNet provides 360-degree visibility with respect to vessel voyage management and schedule. This will enable the operations team to closely monitor each vessel’s performance individually. It will automatically alert them to any deviations from instructed speed or anticipated fuel consumption and make it easier to benchmark and compare performance with other ships. It also means all vessel’s certificates and other particulars are instantly available which can save time when entering port or required to demonstrate compliance. In particular, the preparation of a ship for a SIRE inspection is expedited thanks to the pre-vetting template, and the system makes it easy to keep track of any subsequent corrective actions raised in the inspection results.
TECHNICAL MANAGEMENT The new platform allows the technical team to transition from the one-size-fits-all maintenance model to ship-specific planned maintenance systems. This will lead to increased reliability and less downtime and promises enhanced performance during class and other inspections.
SAFETY One of the biggest advantages of the new platform is that it significantly enhances safety. Smoother communication and easier collaboration between departments will aid considerably in the planning and carrying out of risk assessments. Moreover, it will make it easier to track and manage the implementation of corrective actions, setting in motion a process of continual improvement.
CREWING By providing a fuller picture, BASSnet will allow the crewing department to put the performance of a seafarer in the context of the challenges on a ship, resources, asset condition and overall performance. It will simplify the workflow and improve interaction with the crew onboard.
PROCUREMENT At sea, standardization will assist ship staff to manage inventory accurately and efficiently, allowing timely material requisitioning and reducing wastage. Full synchronisation of ship and shore systems will smoothen the procurement process by reducing inconsistencies and the possibility of errors.
FINANCE BASSnet will provide a new level of transparency to ship owners by giving them real time visibility and insights into their vessel’s actual operating expenses. Consistent data sets will bring appreciable financial benefits, not least in performing analytics of operating expenditure based on vessel type and age. In practical terms, this will help pinpoint opportunities to improve performance, extend best practice management and ultimately increase the value-add to our customers by reducing the operating cost of their vessels. Our strategy was to implement a single platform built around a single database. The new platform has been already rolled out on several vessels in the Wallem fleet and more vessels will migrate to the system over the next months. The project is being carried out in close cooperation with our partners at BASSnet. But at every stage, it has demanded the expertise, energy and drive of people from across Wallem Group. Implementing a complete enterprise solution is also an investment for the future, as it will enable Wallem to leverage the potential of big data in our business processes. Most shipping companies realise they are sitting on vast quantities of data generated by their vessels, but they lack the tools for systematically collecting, organising and analysing it. With BASSnet in the final stages of its implementation, Wallem has a unified suite which puts those capabilities in our grasp. This will open the data pipeline and transform Wallem into a data-driven organisation befitting of a ship management group in today’s digital world. The new business intelligence insights will boost agility and resiliency, enabling Wallem to navigate safely through periods of uncertainty and economic headwinds.
VISIONARY TRAINING Wallem’s new head of training Yvette de Klerk wants to exploit new technology to make sure no seafarer gets left behind
his summer Wallem offered a warm welcome to Yvette de Klerk as she stepped on board as our new head of training. Over the past ten or so years in the marine industry, Yvette has gained first-hand experience of nearly every aspect of crewing and training imaginable. Incredibly, she has also found time to contribute to major research project – led by the World Maritime University (WMU), in Malmo, Sweden and funded by the ITF Seafarers’ Trust – to evaluate the implementation of the current maritime regulatory framework on rest and work hours, but more about that later. Firmly of the belief that technology and collaboration have the power to transform the face of the maritime education and training landscape and the industry’s safety culture, she couldn’t have found a better home than Wallem. “When I first saw the opportunity to work at Wallem pop up on my screen, I couldn’t believe my eyes,” she told Pulse. Wallem’s
values – quality through safety, transparency through technology, and service through support – not only coincide with her own philosophy but provide an ideal framework on which to apply her problem-solving skills in pursuit of continuous improvement. “It was certainly one of my easier career decisions.” “Improving safety has massive potential for putting Wallem steps ahead of the competition,” she enthuses, “and technology has a major role to play.” But she adds a caveat: the technology has to be right. “It has to be useful and usable. You cannot have one without the other. This is something I think we’ve probably Yvette Klerk during the pandemic as we were forced all come de to understand into using and relying on these systems for remote collaboration, learning and, in fact, pretty much everything. If implemented in the correct way, there is no doubt in my mind that technology will help us make better and safer decisions.” One of Yvette’s first big projects involves sketching out a blueprint for an enhanced learning management system (LMS) for Wallem’s training centres and setting in motion the development of a virtual training platform aimed at: • Incorporating an outcome-based/problem-solving approach to address recent incidents; • Making training more engaging so that it more effectively enhances safety culture; • Enabling synchronous and asynchronous learning environments so seafarers can learn at their own pace; and • Supporting the career development of both seafarers and instructors. Part of this will involve streamlining Wallem’s training programmes, realigning them to a modular, outcome-based approach that makes the best use of blended learning methods. Like lots of companies, Covid-19 has accelerated the need for flexibility in how we do things – and how we make the best of Wallem’s dedicated team of trainers based at training centres and crewing offices around the world.
What remains unchanged is the long-term vision of delivering engaging, fit-for-purpose training which drives safety culture and individualised career development through data analytics and continuous improvement. This will make it easier to spot gaps and tailor training for seafarers at an individual level, so no-one gets left behind. Some technological solutions will enable seafarers to continue their learning at their own pace from home, as opposed to training centres, so they can spend more time with their loved ones.
THE BIG QUESTIONS Pulse sought Yvette’s professional views on seven big questions relating to training – at Wallem and across the industry at large.
TO DATE, WHAT HAS FRUSTRATED YOU THE MOST ABOUT THE WAY TRAINING TAKES PLACE IN THE SHIPPING INDUSTRY?
Training is oftentimes reactive. The industry has fallen into the habit of adding subjects in a rather impromptu, non-strategic manner – typically as the result of corrective actions issued in the wake of accidents, incidents or following non-conformities picked up during audits. The desire to act fast is understandable but the trouble is that new elements are rushed in – together with associated policies and procedures – without giving full consideration to the workload and administrative burden placed on seafarers, and without stopping to check whether they fit in with everything else already in the curriculum.
IF YOU COULD MAKE ONE MAJOR CHANGE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Streamline. Identify the competencies seafarers really need and align modular training programmes and assessments with them through a blended learning approach. But above all, training must be engaging and rewarding, because asking seafarers to spend precious leave periods ticking compliance checkboxes benefits no-one.
BROADLY SPEAKING, IN WHAT SORT OF AREAS IS MORE TRAINING NEEDED FOR SEAFARERS GOING TO SEA IN THE 2020s?
We live and work in a world that is increasingly VUCA – volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous. So, an ability to communicate, collaborate and respond to situations where complexity, automation, time- and commercial pressures are all intertwined is becoming increasingly important.
TRAINING IS TRADITIONALLY GEARED TOWARDS ACQUIRING NEW TECHNICAL SKILLS, BUT HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT FOR TEACHING SOFT-SKILLS OR AT CHANGING OR INSTILLING NEW BEHAVIOURS?
This is exactly it. Learning theories and methods have come along
from the ‘old school’ one-way communication, classroom-based approach of the 1970s and 80s, with curriculums focused on rigid learning objectives. In addition to outcome-based curriculums, acquiring the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to excel in today’s world demands an approach that is far more interactive and centred on problem-solving.
THINKING BACK TO YOUR RESEARCH AT WMU, HOW IMPORTANT WOULD YOU SAY TRAINING IS FOR TACKLING THE CHALLENGE OF WORKREST HOURS?
If implemented in the correct way, technology
Work-rest hour violations and malpractices are a systemic issue. The WMU research indicated failure on multiple levels – regulatory, implementation, and compliance monitoring. Stakeholders who continually turned a blind eye encouraged the normalisation of deviance and a ‘culture of adjustment’, which went far beyond record-keeping alone. Training certainly has a role to play in addressing the problem – but it has to take place at multiple levels. The final report, due to be published in November this year, proposes propose three core directions, as well as a host of short-term recommendations targeted at specific stakeholders.
will help us
ONLINE TRAINING IS GREAT FOR SELF-STUDY, BUT LOTS OF SITUATIONS AT SEA REQUIRE STRONG TEAMWORK. CAN IT BE EMPLOYED FOR TEAM SCENARIOS? There are now many ways online training can take place; some are more conducive than others in fostering a collaborative learning environment online. This is why Wallem is currently reviewing a wide range of technological solutions that will enable us to continue to deliver on safety, technical and commercial performance.
NEARLY EVERYONE REMEMBERS AN INSPIRING TEACHER AT SCHOOL. BY FOCUSING TOO MUCH ON TECHNOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS, ARE WE IN DANGER OF LOSING THE BENEFITS OF FACE-TO-FACE INSTRUCTION? HOW DO WE FIND A BALANCE? Absolutely. Technology is not a silver bullet – it won’t solve all our problems. But, as the pandemic has shown, neither can we afford to ignore it. Engaging with our seafarers and trainers and empowering them is how I believe we will find the balance. Ultimately, what’s most important is that, regardless of medium, learning is rewarding and that it ensures the safety of our seafarers, vessels and cargo and protection of the marine environment.
PLAYING A MORE STRATEGIC GAME The stereotype of finance departments as halls of accountants bent over spreadsheets quietly crunching the numbers and balancing the books is giving way to more pro-active, strategic approach, says Wallem Group CFO Maren Moxom. WHAT ARE THE KEY SKILLS FOR A MODERN CFO?
It is no longer a background job. There’s a far bigger focus now on being proactive by participating constructively in discussions with leaders in other departments on commercial decisions, allocating resources and shaping business strategy that ultimately bring the greatest improvement in return to our shareholders. To do this, we have to stay abreast of trends in the market – monitoring competition, understanding our customers’ needs, forging relationships with suppliers, and keeping an eye on technological advances – as well as taking into account new financial rules and regulations. The impacts or potential added
value of all these changes must be weighed up objectively and with good business acumen. Keeping an open mind to new ideas is an antidote to the dangers of complacency. Similar to other departments, soft skills are becoming increasingly important. It sounds simple but really listening to what stakeholders are telling you is the first step in effective engagement and working out how we can best assist from a financial perspective. Strong communication skills are also needed to demonstrate the value-add – especially if certain aspects are subtle or complex. Technological change means we need to invest in our people to enhance their digital skills, as we transition away from transactional activities and step into a more strategic role for the business. We see this already with the automation of routine processes and outsourcing of certain functions that used to be carried out internally. The arrival of artificial intelligence suggests this digital transformation has barely begun. As finance professionals, we need to be ready and prepare our teams so we can take advantage of these advances as opposed to resisting them.
particularly for me as relative newcomer to the industry.
WHAT STEPS HAS WALLEM TAKEN TO ENSURE ITS FINANCIAL HEALTH DURING THE PANDEMIC? Business large and small have been severely impacted during the pandemic and ensuing market volatility. Wallem has gone to great lengths to continue operations and retain its workforce as it weathers this uncertainty. In some areas, we’ve been able to benefit from government COVID relief. We’ve paid special attention to our management of working capital and where we see a risk, perhaps with customers under financial strain, we’ve adjusted our commercial terms of business with deposits and payment terms to mitigate it. The combined result of all these efforts is that we’ve not had to take the drastic measures other companies have.
Profitable growth is key for our future and is something each and every one of us should be highly attentive to. This might involve searching out opportunities to expand service offerings to our current customers, or relaying back info about potential new customer leads. Ask yourself if there are ways to utilise internal teams and expertise instead of subcontracting. Take control of costs by anticipating and planning, rather than letting them arrive unexpectedly. In the shadow of the pandemic, it’s more important than ever that we are attentive to market context and attuned to cost and efficiency, so that resources are allocated where they provide the greatest return and activities which are no longer necessary are deprioritized or dropped completely.
open mind to
HOW WILL BASSNET MAKE A POSITIVE IMPACT ON WALLEM’S FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE?
WHAT SMALL CHANGES CAN FRONTLINE STAFF MAKE TO IMPROVE WALLEM’S BOTTOM LINE?
new ideas is an antidote to
It presents a rare opportunity to systematically build a clean set of information, which we can leverage for greater insights and analytics – to spot opportunities for efficiencies, to learn from benchmarking fleet performance, and potentially even to develop new capabilities and services Wallem can bring to its shipowners, and to benefit its seafarers. I’m hopeful it will enable more efficient and consistent processes across the organization so our teams can focus more of their time on activities that will provide greater value for our customers both in terms of safe and efficient vessel operations and commercial targets.
WHAT DIALOGUE TAKES PLACE WITH OTHER BUSINESS DEPARTMENTS?
This is a challenge in many companies. Having candid conversations with other departments is crucial to fully understanding their internal objectives and identifying strengths and weaknesses in the organization, as well as possible challenges and opportunities. It’s an ongoing learning process –
WHAT ARE YOUR CURRENT FOCUS AREAS?
In the immediate term, the focus is on stabilizing some of our core business processes as the company adjusts to all the transformation that has taken place and continues to take place. Our team has identified a number of priority projects, some of which will be quick wins whilst others may be larger in scope. In short, I’d like to see finance support the business by introducing greater standardisation in our processes. Examples include revamping our management reporting to drive greater focus on results and execution and taking a holistic approach to our management of working capital.
MARKETING, AN ESSENTIAL LINK Lidia Selivanova joined Wallem as Head of Marketing in January 2019. With a passion for the maritime industry and technology, Lidia told Pulse what motivated her to join the company and how marketing contributes to driving the Wallem Transformation. WHY DID YOU MOVE TO WALLEM AFTER 15 YEARS AT A MARITIME TECHNOLOGY COMPANY?
Transas is the reason I fell in love with the maritime industry, and I am forever grateful to the team and all the opportunities I was given there. When Frank Coles took over as its CEO, I saw the difference in leadership and the effect of Frankâ€™s approach: making the right decisions and rallying everyone behind a common
goal. United by one vision, we were empowered to drive internal change, consequently steering the company and the market in the new direction. When Frank invited me to join him at Wallem shortly after his own move and told me about his plan for transforming the company and the role I could play in it, the new challenge sounded very appealing. It was an opportunity to learn about the other side of the industry and help driving the Wallem Transformation.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION ON STEPPING THROUGH THE DOOR?
I felt proud joining the company that pioneered the concept of ship management back in 1903. I spent my first three weeks at our HQ in Hong Kong, and it was a humbling experience as I saw how much more there was to learn after being in the industry for 15 years. I met many talented people from across the organization who were open and eager for change. Talking to seafarers, listening to their stories and ideas was just wonderful. What they had in common was an enormous pride in their job and being such an important part of the organization. I was also happy to see how well integrated women seafarers are at Wallem. Reflecting on my previous role, I realized that we need more dialogue in the industry for the technology vendors to better understand the challenges ship managers and ship owners face. The need for integrated solutions, data strategies and transparency became more apparent. Wallem is more than a ship management company: we offer a full range of maritime solutions, and our mission is to keep improving the quality and safety of the services we provide by taking maximum advantage of technology.
vision, to be ‘the leading provider of technology-driven maritime solutions in a customer centric and transparent manner’, and the new brand reflects this ambition. Wallem is a modern company built on traditions. It is these two core values on which our marketing strategy is based. Having decades of experience means we understand the market and our customers’ needs. We believe technology can provide new level of transparency in the performance of ships, our crew and the services we offer.
You need to
understand how the company operates
and see the
HOW CAN MARKETING DRIVE CHANGE?
point of view.
To start with, you need to understand how the company operates and see the solutions from the customers’ point of view. We need to have an open conversation with the stakeholders to find the right solutions for ship owners. Successful companies today are those with the courage to challenge the status quo, be mindful to consider the customers’ viewpoint and those that walk the talk. At Wallem we can do all three. I also see marketing as an essential link between the functions internally. The change needs to come from the inside. For this to happen internal communication must be completely transparent, as this helps everyone to align on goals and work together, where each function delivers its bit.
IN 2019 WALLEM LAUNCHED A NEW BRAND. TELL US MORE ABOUT THAT.
Our new brand wasn’t launched on its own. We had a new
DID THE CORONAVIRUS EFFECT YOUR MESSAGING?
The pandemic didn’t change our core message, but we did shift the focus in our communications. We realised that the emerging crew change crisis demanded an audience outside the shipping industry. Frank posted numerous call-to-action articles on LinkedIn, and soon after we were approached by the New York Times, Bloomberg, South China Morning Post, CNN, and others. This helped us raise global awareness of the crisis, propose an action plan and put the topic on the agenda of organisations and governments that would otherwise have been oblivious to what was happening at sea. We are also sending weekly updates to our seafarers and we’ve incorporated topics like mental health into our safety campaigns.
WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
I am curious to explore the diversity of opinions. To me social media is a source of insights and ideas from interesting people and companies. This is what I want Wallem’s social media to be – a source of thought-provoking valuable content. It’s also a great tool for delivering information and interacting directly with your audiences.
WHAT CURRENT PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON?
There are several big projects we are working on. Top priorities for this year are our Intranet and the new website. The Intranet will streamline internal comms and provide everyone in the company a ‘go-to’ space for corporate information and updates. The new website is our next step in the Wallem Transformation; it will be very different from what the maritime industry is used to, so stay tuned!
WHERE PEOPLE MATTER The role of HR is undergoing a profound transformation as it adopts new tech, embraces diversity and becomes more strategic in its approach. Pulse caught up with Joan Lee, head of HR in Hong Kong and her counterpart in Singapore, Lynette Lim HOW HAS THE FUNCTION OF HR EVOLVED IN RECENT TIMES? Lynette: In the past it was fair to describe HR as a mainly
administrative function. Today however we act more strategically with the rest of the business in making decisions relating to recruitment, talent and performance management and employee experience. We’re becoming more sophisticated in our approach by using data analytics for benchmarking salaries, performance and demographics, so it’s increasingly important HR leaders know how to interpret that data – understand what it’s telling them and correlate it with everything else happening in the organization – in order to make better workforce planning decisions.
HOW IS TECHNOLOGY TRANSFORMING YOUR ROLE ON DAY-TODAY BASIS? Joan: The technology we’re adopting enables us to build a complete
picture of employees, store everything securely, and automate routine administrative processes. Another difference is that it’s a lot easier now to produce reports and detect emerging trends, which leads to better decisions. Like Lynette said, we’re spending less time on transactional activities and more time supporting the strategic needs of the business. The self-service tools we’ve introduced also deliver a better experience for employees and managers by making HR info accessible to the people who need it when they need it. Implementing a shared-services model for global payroll is another example of knocking down the artificial barriers of the past, consolidating resources and embracing the ONE Wallem philosophy.
WALLEM HAS A VERY GLOBAL AND DIVERSE WORKFORCE. WHAT UNIQUE CHALLENGES DOES THIS CREATE? Lynette: One challenge is to support managers adjust their mindsets to changing values and demographics. For example, learning to accept and value diversity in their teams and to break the habit of
judging performance in terms of loyalty or working long hours and focus instead on recognising achievements that can be properly quantified such as fulfilment of KPIs and alignment to overarching corporate goals.
HOW IS HR EMBRACING AND SUPPORTING GREATER DIVERSITY? Joan: Diversity is a strength for the organisation and should be
celebrated, not feared. We recruit talent globally regardless of nationality, gender or family status. Today Wallem’s workforce comprises more than 20 nationalities with an equally wide spread of different cultures and backgrounds. This mix fosters greater innovation, new ideas, better decision-making, and in many ways contributes to organizational growth. The challenge is creating a workplace culture where all employees feel included and can flourish. It’s a major investment to bring talent into the organization. We need to make sure that those different voices are heard and their contributions are valued, as it boosts engagement and helps with retention.
Lynette: Hiring process is the foundation for diversity. Our role
in HR is to spot any gaps in teams and recruit candidates who fill them by complementing the existing team’s competencies and steer away from traditional selection practices that lead to homogenous teams. We keep a watchful eye for unfair recruitment selection and take any complaints of discrimination very seriously. In Singapore, we recently hired our first female Operations Executive for the Cruise Team. With a brilliant career history and strong performance in the interview, we were confident she would make a great addition to the team. Maybe it helps that we’re based in a Singapore, which ranks among one world’s most culturally diverse nations. Living and working in a cultural ‘melting pot’, I suppose it’s second nature to appreciate and respect one another’s differences. In fact, we exploit the fact to hold small parties whether to celebrate Chinese New Year, Hari Raya (Eid) and Diwali.
TO WHAT EXTENT DO YOU THINK HR STEERS COMPANY CULTURE? FOR INSTANCE, DRIVING A SAFETY CULTURE. Lynette: HR often serves as an intermediary between the
management tier and staff on the frontline, which brings broader awareness of the culture across different levels of the organisation. If there’s a significant mismatch in culture between those levels, we can raise the alarm and make recommendations to address them. We also liaise with our counterparts in other countries to see whether it’s a local problem that requires a local solution, or something more widespread.
HOW IS HR SUPPORTING THE EMPLOYEES IN THE COVID-19 SITUATION? IS THERE ANY SUPPORT TO THE EMPLOYEES IN RETURNING TO THE OFFICE ENVIRONMENT? Lynette: Ensuring the wellbeing of our employees has been our
top priority throughout the pandemic. Initially our focus was to understand the various local guidelines and communicate messages to employees simply and clearly so as to avoid confusion, and plan work arrangements to stagger teams. We worked hard to secure essentials like facemasks and hand sanitizers, which were in short supply especially in the early days. We’ve organized safety-focused townhalls giving practical advice as well as tips on maintaining mental wellbeing.
Joan: As employees start returning to the office environment,
we’ve adopted a series of enhanced preventive and social distancing measures to protect their own health and that of their colleagues. These include rearranging workstations and meeting rooms, moving meetings online, more stringent workplace sanitation and disinfection, providing facemasks and hand sanitizers, and introducing temperature checks.
WHEN PEOPLE THINK ABOUT HR, RECRUITMENT TENDS TO BE THE FIRST THING TO FLASH UP IN THEIR MINDS. BUT HOW DO YOU HELP EXISTING EMPLOYEES? Lynette: Roles and responsibilities are evolving faster than ever due to new technology coming in, so a big focus of our work is to provide staff with opportunities for career development by expanding their work scope to prepare them with the skills needed to assume roles that are more senior and have more responsibility, rather than immediately turning to external candidates when positions are vacated.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SEAFARERS AND OTHER STAFF WHO WANT TO ADVANCE IN THEIR CAREER? Joan: As the world becomes increasingly competitive, having the drive to do well in your job and moving forward with your career is more important than ever. Employees who are industrious and have the hunger to learn new skills have plenty of opportunities to climb the career ladder. Our advice is to take ownership of your career and performance. Proactively set measurable goals and create a detailed plan with timeframe to achieve and become a self-evaluator: don’t wait for your line managers to assess your performance – do it yourself.
Lynette: While resilience and having a ‘can-do attitude’ are
sought after attributes, this must be coupled with an awareness of your current competencies and those required for the role you’re interested in. It’s worth sharing your career ambitions with your line manager and HR and, above all, be realistic with expectations.
HOW ARE YOU PLANNING FOR THE COMPANY’S FUTURE TALENT REQUIREMENTS? Lynette: We keep our eyes open and ears to the ground. We
maintain a list of names of those showing strong potential to assume higher responsibilities, and always looking out for additions. We also scout for external talent taking full advantage of our industry links with organisations like Singapore’s Maritime Port Authority to track down strong candidates. wallem.com