Choose another country/language to see content specific to your location.

Digitisation and the pandemic’s perfect storm: crew travel specialist calls for greater technology integration

Accelerating the digital transformation of crew travel logistics in the shipping industry will reduce the impact of challenges affecting crew changes as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic according to specialist travel management company, ATPI Marine & Energy.

Speaking at the 2020 edition of CrewConnect, Nikos Gazelidis, global head of shipping at ATPI Marine & Energy, outlined the urgent need for shipping companies to address crew logistics as a single, seamless process by integrating information from manning agents,, port agents and travel management companies. Reducing the current fragmented set of manual functions that a crew change requires will save money, increase efficiency and highlight ahead of time when there is high risk of a crew change not happening.

Gazelidis said:

“Crew changes are about cost and viability, and as shipping companies work around the challenges of shrinking airline networks and extra quarantine times for crew, the bill is getting bigger. Mitigating these costs in the long run requires looking at crew changes as one integrated function, and all parties involved need have the same visibility and accountability.

“Planning for crew changes in the future needs to start much earlier in order to be cost effective. Digitalsation will empower the plotting of data from different sources and systems so that a shipping company can have all necessary information to conduct a proactive and effective crew change at the right time and place.”

The new normal requires shipping businesses to factor in increased travel budgets, covering significant price increases for worldwide air fares and even the in-direct cost of PPE and sanitation. Travel is now more expensive and there are additional factors to include such as quarantine holding facilities and testing programmes.

These additional costs heighten the risks associated with a crew change, particularly in an environment where regulations that can impact travel are globally inconsistent and implemented with little notice. Having a full view of the true price picture, and the knock-on impact when changes occur, is crucial to operating as cost efficiently as possible.

Gazelidis continues:

“The shipping industry is one of the most technologically advanced in the world when it comes to areas such as training, ship maintenance and servicing, but crew changes have to date been left out of the equation. The Covid-19 pandemic caused a perfect storm, accelerating challenges. The industry has done everything in its power to manage repatriating seafarers, and the crisis is driving greater cooperation. Now is the time for governments, port authorities and ship owners to come together and tackle crew changes. Digital integration is urgently needed.”

Speaking at the first ever virtual CrewConnect Global, Gazelidis spoke as part of a ‘Has digital transformation proved itself in critical times’ panel discussion.

ATPI Marine & Energy has 100-years’ heritage in setting new standards in managing the complexities of crew travel. The team is strategically located in the core regions of focus for the marine and energy industries to allow for both sector and important regional expertise, delivering what really matters to its clients. ATPI Marine & Energy is part of the global travel and events business the ATPI Group.

Click here for more information about digitisation and technology in the shipping sector