Russia-Ukraine standoff has led to widespread disruption in the global shipping industry, leading to a shortage of crew in several lines, according to Carl Schou, CEO & President of Wilhelmsen Ship Management, a global leader in third-party ship management.

These two countries control a good portion of the world’s seafarers, which has led to an already tight situation in the supply of seafarers, adding to industry’s woes. Besides, he said the stringent rules that come into force following the European Union emission norms will likely impact the global shipping sector.

In a telephonic interaction with businessline, he said the global shipping industry is passing through a critical phase, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic, with many seafarers opting out of the profession.

To address the crew shortage, he said “we have charted out suitable plans with a focus on female candidates from India’‘. The company proactively welcomes female cadets, constituting 4 per cent of its yearly intake and aims to increase the ratio to 10 per cent. Moreover, the company is set to further grow the Indian seafarer headcount by an additional 15 per cent and shore-based employees by another 25 per cent by the end of next year.

“India is an important market for us. The nation’s education standards produce competent seafarers that have contributed to our success in the gas tanker and car carrier segments. We aim to increase our headcount and establish India as a strategic hub to support our global operations and growth plans.” Schou said.

Celebrating its silver jubilee in India, he said Wilhelmsen’s International Maritime Training Centre (IMTC) in Mumbai is all set to introduce the first virtual reality simulator training. The company focuses more on digital learning than traditional classroom training aimed at offering meaningful learning experiences combining emotion and technology.

This concept will be driven from India and replicated in all manning office networks worldwide. IMTC will be positioned to be a global training content provider producing quality training content and enhanced learning experience for all Wilhelmsen seafarers globally through e-learning platforms and a virtual reality training hub, he added.

Wilhelmsen is strategically preparing for the 2030 landscape based on the projection that 70 per cent of the world fleet will use conventional fuel, 20 per cent LNG, and 10 per cent alternative fuels.

“Leveraging digital systems, we are implementing data-driven strategies to reduce fuel consumption. Our investment in training equips crew members to take emission-conscious initiatives. Through a holistic approach integrating technology, data insights and skilled personnel, we are positioning our operations to support ship owners’ vision for a net zero emission future”, added Schou.