Current restrictions on travel and crew change in China mean that owners taking delivery of new vessels from Chinese shipbuilders have to sign on Chinese seafarers rather than flying crew in from other countries.
Terence Zhao, managing director of Singhai Marine Services, which specialises in Chinese crewing, told the Capital Link International Shipping Forum China, that from a very difficult period in the first few months of the year, business had improved as from April the Chinese government encouraged the signing on and off of Chinese national seafarers at the country’s ports.
“We can see more and more shipowners have new delivery in China so since they cannot send their own people to China they try to use more Chinese crew. This gives a very good opportunity to our business for Chinese crew,” Zhao explained.
“Now you look at the market it’s amazing….everyone comes to China and looks for Chinese crew.”
However, higher demand has also started to push up the salaries for Chinese seafarers.
Asked if China would open up to international crew changes soon Zhao said he thought it was unlikely anytime soon as the Chinese government wanted to protect the country from imported Covid-19 cases.
“Maybe what we can see is sometime next year we can see something change,” he said.
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