SAFETY4SEA: In your view, has the industry been successful in welcoming and incorporating millennials and Generation Z persons? What should be the next steps?
Dr. Orestis Schinas: I am afraid not; the industry is still dominated by Generation X and even older persons. Millennials and Gen-Z are highly educated, they do not seem to be loyal to a single career path and they enjoy ‘interconnectivity’ with other communities, industries and groups of professionals. Our global industry is extremely ‘local’ and it is not open to young persons; experience, certification and similar realistic and artificial barriers do not allow the ‘free flow’ of ‘externals’ to our industry. Consider ‘digitalization’ and ‘sustainability’ as challenges and see who is usually leading the effort.
S4S: This year, IMO WMD theme was dedicated to women empowerment in the maritime community. What needs to be done further to support gender diversity in shipping?
Dr. O.Sch.: Give women a chance; Invite them to the industry, and let them do what the men are doing: negotiations in the yards, supervision of newbuildings, sail onboard, sit at the negotiation table, etc… let them be part of the decision-making process.
S4S: If you could change one thing that would have an either profound or immediate impact on making a career in shipping more attractive to young men and women (outside the industry), what this one thing would it be and why?
Dr. O.Sch.: I would increase the bandwidth for ship shore communications, so mariners could feel closer to their family and friends and ships would turn into digital assets controlled at large from personnel ashore. In this way any physical barrier would be eliminated and only performance would matter.
S4S: What are currently the trends affecting training and what will be the key challenges for the industry within the next years?
Dr. O.Sch.: Digitalization and greening! Zero-emission operations is the goal and digitalization will offer the tools to control ships and equipment remotely. Things take time but the process of change has started!
S4S: Do you have any new projects on the pipeline and/or plans that you would like to share with the rest of the industry?
Dr. O.Sch.: We are currently working on SKILLSEA, an EC-funded project that focusses on the educational and vocational needs of employees ashore. The ‘human element’ issue is pivotal in our research, as is also the development of business models that enhance green solutions in shipping.
S4S: In 2050, what will be the same and what will be different in the shipping industry?
Dr. O.Sch.: Maritime transport will only be one pillar of the emerging blue economy, i.e. of the economy of the oceans. Abatement of marine pollution, sustainable energy and many new fields are only some of the new fields of research and commercial activity
S4S: What is your key message to the young generation with respect to a career within the maritime industry?
Dr. O.Sch.: Go for it! There is no other industry than our maritime one! It is global, it is competitive and there is much of potential for young entrepreneurs!
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and not necessarily those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.
Orestis Schinas, Professor of Shipping and Ship Finance, HSBA
Schinas is the Professor of Shipping & Ship Finance and Head of the Maritime Business School at the Hamburg School of Business Administration (HSBA – www.hsba.de), since 2008. His department was recently awarded the premium quality seal, demonstrating top academic and organizational excellence. His professional career includes large corporate assignments, such as IPO and advanced research and business development projects, as well as start-ups and fintech endeavors in the fields of shipping and ship finance. He has gained experiences and offered his services in many sectors, regions and international organizations, and recently he was also appointed as Permanent Representative of a Member State to IMO. His work on marine bunkers, air emissions and energy efficiency of ships as well as on ports and infrastructure is published in renowned journals and collective works, while his book ‘HSBA Handbook on Ship Finance’ is also available in Chinese, reflecting the visibility of his work.