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Cutting the cost of cruise ship crew changes hero image

Cutting the cost of cruise ship crew changes

At the height of the pandemic, many ports worldwide were making decisions to ban cruise ships from entry on an almost daily basis.

Cruise itineraries were cancelled, and many vessels were subsequently laid up. The fallout left cruise companies with debt and liquidity burdens. Both cruise lines and their service suppliers have therefore been under pressure since then to reduce OPEX.

ATPI Marine Travel continued to support its partners through rapidly changing market conditions, and we recently recognised another opportunity for creating value for one of our existing clients. 

In the dynamic world of travel, challenges can arise unexpectedly, testing even the most meticulously planned itineraries. So, we don't merely manage customers’ crew travel programmes; we manage customers’ planning travel behaviours; and we manage the unexpected. Our crew services and solutions are designed to support seafarers travelling to and from ships, while also providing a platform for crew managers to optimise costs and deliver on their company’s duty of care responsibilities.

In this case study, we explain how we unearthed data and insight that could save our long-term Client, a Global cruise catering and hotel service provider, around half a million Euros over a four-month period by making recommendations for different crew change locations. The savings were highlighted even though the original crew change locations had already been planned by the Client and its partners, and in most cases, already booked and ticketed by ATPI in Greece. 

The Client

Our Client is a market leader in hotel and restaurant management for cruise ship owners and sea travel operators. Global services include management of high-end river and ocean cruises, such as selecting specialist crew, catering for holidaymakers and equipment supplies.

The Client’s managed fleet has grown to include 70 vessels, operated by over 15,000 qualified crew members and more than 100 onshore staff based at offices in in 4 different countries in Europe.

ATPI Marine Travel’s partnership with the Client began in 2009 as they wanted to reduce the cost of crew travel to and from vessels and to streamline booking processes. Then in October 2013, the Client consolidated all its business travel with ATPI Marine Travel in recognition of the results we had achieved since our initial engagement. 

The Challenge

Throughout our long-term partnership, we have helped to significantly reduce the cost of crew travel and analysed and implemented changes that have led to improved efficiency and crew welfare. The Client regularly seeks advice on reducing travel costs based on our red/green port system for easy identification of lower-cost ports for scheduling crew changes. 

We have been providing our recommendations during twice-annual reviews where we recommend corrective actions on alternative ports and crew change locations. As soon as new vessel itineraries are published, and following our review, we are given access to their rosters, and we are asked to validate their crew change planning (we do not actively participate in the planning and execution process until then).

This time, the Client asked us to concentrate our efforts on reducing travel costs for the five top crew home destinations for six managed vessels in their fleet. These five home nations encompass approximately 70% of the total crew involved, and we were tasked with reducing their crew change costs for the last quarter of 2023. Our pledge is unwavering - we will always find a solution, and we set to work.

The Solution

ATPI Marine Travel managed more than ¾ million seafarer transactions in 2022, so we have a good handle on the cost of crew transfer logistics. We also offer the widest selection of marine fares in the market, so we understand the costs of individual crew travel. Our analysis included factors such as air seat capacity & availability, seasonal influences and local port taxes.

We identified alternative crew change locations for 15% of the crew changes that had already been planned and booked for September-December 2023. For those whose itineraries were affected on short notice, we swiftly facilitated rebooking’s and rescheduled travel arrangements. We prioritise this to ensure the wellbeing of crew from deck to door.

The Outcome

The total savings, across the six cruise ships, and 5 main crew nationalities, amounted to EUR 0.5M.

The Client is already considering assigning ATPI Marine Travel the task of making similar recommendations for their entire 2024 crew change schedule. We are in the process of preparing a proposal for ATPI to hold a permanent consultative role with the Client’s scheduling and travel teams during crew change planning and execution.

Our long-term relationship with the Client demonstrates that beyond the immediate challenges of the pandemic, ATPI Marine Travel is a dedicated and valuable partner for cruise companies looking to future-proof crew travel plans. Already at the forefront of delivering transformative solutions for our global clients, we continue to develop new ways to meet the changing needs of modern crew change logistics. 

Our experts analyse trends, foresee potential disruptions and design safeguarding strategies. And as a worldwide organisation, our extensive network empowers us to cater to the unique needs of the cruise sector across the globe.