In this context, we have asked Mr. Sunil Kapoor, Director of FML Ship Management in Cyprus, to make an assessment of 2020 from his perspective and share his message for the new year across the global community. Among others, he highlights that the industry needs to learn from past accidents/ incidents and improve the safety standards and procedures in order to prevent more accidents and piracy attacks from taking place.
I would like shipping to give attention to the alarmingly increasing cases of depression and suicide cases on board the ships, due to mental stress of the seafarers.
SAFETY4SEA: Focusing on your area of expertise, what were the most important industry development(s) within 2020?
Sunil Kapoor: To cope with pandemic-related disruptions, the maritime sector had to adjust its operations, as well as its working practices and procedures. Once again, what the sector and its people proved, is that during crisis, we are resilient and we always find ways to keep the ships sailing. From the ship management side, we saw an increase in the demand for our services, owners that were managing everything in-house, are now exploring third party management services.
S4S: Focusing on your area of expertise, what do you think that will be the biggest challenge(s) for the industry in 2021?
S.K.: During 2020, our biggest challenge was to navigate the movement of people and goods across a world full of closed borders and mandatory quarantines. Even though the vaccine is here it will take at least 6 more months for things to start getting better, therefore we will still be faced with the same problems during the first half of 2021. Moreover, during 2021 we will also face the difficult task of ensuring that the seafarers have fast access to the vaccine, as they were the ones that suffered the most during this crisis.
S4S: What would be the 2021 resolutions for your company/organisation?
S.K.: At Fleet we always make sure we are ahead of the curve that is why we already had the systems in place to ensure business continuity during a crisis. Nevertheless, we continue to focus on the digitization of our operations and exploring new technologies and opportunities to continue delivering at a high standard. Our resolution is always the same; to provide quality ship management services which are reliable, cost-effective and meet or exceed customer requirements and to expand our business. Hence, our target and focus remain the same we just do things in a different way.
S4S: What is your overall forecast for shipping industry in 2021 and what would you like to share and/or wish and/or ask other industry stakeholders?
S.K.: The pandemic has sent shockwaves through global maritime transport and laid the foundations for a transformed industry. The world is going to be very different coming out of the pandemic than what it was before. As such, we need to align ourselves for the “way the world will be” not “how it was”. The pandemic has been a unique social experience for everyone, and I feel that the collateral damages will fully unfold once this pandemic is over and the damage will be severe for the economy worldwide and this will reflect on the shipping sector as well. We are lucky that Fleet will come out of this crisis stronger, and as a closing message, I urge all those organisations in the same position as Fleet, to ensure that those who were more challenged, can benefit from our position of strength.
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and do not necessarily those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.