Ensuring wellbeing from door to deck is essential for crew welfare programs
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 understand the costs of individual crew travel. From this, we can safely say that improving the travel experience for seafarers can be achieved without major investment from their employers.
In some cases, the cost is negligible, and any extra admin can be managed by the ATPI team. A win-win indeed. But, why would an employer even focus on this area of crew welfare, when they have already ensured the on-board environment has been taken care of, e.g., with movies on tap and plenty of internet access for all? Especially when the objective is simply to get a professional to work and back again?
It comes down to competition in the market. This industry suffers from significant employee churn as it has always been relatively easy for seafarers to find a new contract for their next shift, should the conditions at the current employer not suit them. The pandemic exacerbated the issue, and workers are rarely short of options.
Which is great for seafarers but not so for ship owners and managers, who must absorb the cost of recruiting and training in order to fill the vacant position. The answer is of course to make working for you more attractive, but when you already have competitive pay, rec rooms, high-speed connectivity and great food, what more can be done?
Some forward-thinking marine employers are starting to extend their crew welfare provision beyond the ship to get an edge in crew recruitment and retention. By introducing favourable travel policies to and from the ships, it is possible to show employees that they are well looked after, which could make the difference when deciding whether to return for another rotation.
Allowing crew managers to choose journeys with value adds such as free lounge access at transit points and enhanced transfer timings by ensuring that they are clearly highlighted in the travel options given helps to build more appreciation from all staff – both onshore and seafarers alike.
Implementing such measures may require additional budget and time, but this can be offset against the cost of recruitment and training for crew that leave the company way too early. Such a strategy can be verified if a shipowner or manager can break down internal silos, so its easier to recognise that some extra cost on one side can deliver significant savings elsewhere.
Further investment, for instance, in crew tracking services or digital services, can really seal the deal, showing employees that they come first no matter what. And while such a strategy will persuade professionals to join your business, or stay as an employee for much longer, there are also operational benefits; after all, a crew member arriving following a pleasant trip to work will be much more eager to work than one sent from pillar to post just to get the cheapest possible flights!