Crew change on the mind of Chinese shipowners

Chinese shipowners Despite the maritime industry showing signs of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, with many Chinese shipowners seeing an uptick in business, many of them are still concerned over the issue of crew changes. Speaking at the Capital Link International Shipping Forum China, Ding Lei, vice president of China Merchants Energy Shipping, said, “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.” With a large proportion of crew coming from India and the Philippines, Ding Lei has admitted that this was a factor in his company still finding the current status of the pandemic to be unpredictable. Other top executives of Chinese shipping companies and Chinese shipowners echoed similar sentiments with regard to the disruption of existing crew change protocols by COVID-19. CEO of Shandong Shipping, Gao Changfeng, said, “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.” CEO of Cosco Shipping Bulk, Gu Jinsong, bemoaned the effects of COVID-19, saying that “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.” However, some have praised the reaction from the Chinese government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in helping smooth over the crew change situation in China. The government had strongly supported Chinese seafarers, but the circumstances surrounding foreign crew members remained difficult, according to CEO of SITC International Holdings, Yang Xianxiang. Yang continued, “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.” Source: Seatrade Maritime

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