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Anglo-Eastern Univan in China for the long haul

Anglo-Eastern Univan in China for the long haul
With typical foresight, Anglo-Eastern Univan (AEUV) has invested in China, but executive chairman of the newly formed group Peter Cremers candidly said “it has not been an easy ride” for them to recruit and flourish in the market.

Speaking at the first annual briefing after the merger, Cremers said: “In China at the end of the day we are competing with big names there and frankly speaking, it’s not one of our most successful, effective crewing resources.”

Elaborating, QHSE and training md Pradeep Chawla noted that with an estimated 60,000 officers available in the market competition is fierce and companies are having to go to even third tier cities in inland China to source candidates for recruitment.

AEUV was the first international ship management company to get a document of compliance (DOC) at its centre in Shenzhen and can manage Chinese-flagged ships but how successful this will be is yet to be seen, Chawla added.

At the same time, it is easy to lose people to shore jobs in either the major Chinese shipping groups or other segments of the maritime industry such as the port sector.

Cremers said that “it’s very difficult to copy what we are doing in the Philippines and India” where mariners are trained right from cadet level and stay with the company throughout their careers.

He noted that the main reason for setting up in China was to get into the offshore market but noted wryly that “has taken a bit of a U-turn”. Cremers admitted that AEUV would probably not be as competitive as Chinese companies in common segments such as dry bulk but in very niche markets such as offshore, where owners need foreign help but still want to do it under Chinese-flagged vessels it has something to offer.

While these markets are having problems at the moment, he remained confident that they would turn around eventually.

Cremers also said that while he expects to see more consolidation in the ship management industry, AEUV would not make any more acquisitions unless it wanted to grow in some specific niche where it would make more sense to take over a company such as in the passenger vessel segment for example.