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Crew Change Crisis

Business improves for Chinese shipowners, but crew change a top concern

Photo: Wilhelmsen crewchangewilh2.jpg
Crew change in Singapore
With the resumption of production and work amid Covid-19 pandemic, shipowners in China are seeing the improvement in business, however, crew change has become a major concern.

“We have to face a difficult operating environment this year due to the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic. Our business started to get better from June, however, the crew shifts would still be a big issue to owners in the coming months,” Ding Lei, vice president of China Merchants Energy Shipping said at the Capital Link International Shipping Forum China on Wednesday.

Our company has a lot of international crew from India and Philippines, which is a major uncertainty factor to us considering the unstable pandemic control status globally, Ding added.

Gu Jinsong, ceo of Cosco Shipping Bulk,  said“Covid-19 caused cargo volume, freight rates and the profits dropped, we have to invest in more funds and human resources to maintain the stability on crew shifts and ship operation.”

Gao Changfeng, ceo of Shandong Shipping said that so far, the global pandemic hadn’t resulted in dramatic changes but had brought a lot of pressure to the shipping market and crew management. “The revenues and the costs are something we can fix internally such as pay cuts, however, the crew management is the real issue to us,” he said.

In the early stages of the Covid-19 outbreak, the crew changes were very difficult even in China. The situation improved quickly due to the great support of Chinese government for Chinese seafarers, however the situation foreign crew management is still not easy, talked Yang Xianxiang, ceo of SITC International Holdings.

“Currently, the market is facing shortage of crew supply and the increasing wages of crews. It would be a problem to the owners in the short-term,” Yang continued.


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