The shipmanagement business has evolved from a pure nuts and bolts industry to a far more competence driven sector requiring a wide variety of competencies. “The world has moved on and managers who can’t handle the increasing regulatory requirements will not survive the game,” argues Carl Schou, president of Wilhelmsen Ship Management in today’s Maritime CEO interview.
Schou, who has just overseen the relocation of his company from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, now presides over a fleet of around 390 ships, including crew and full technical management.
Part of the reason for the move was Singapore’s perceived leadership when it comes to digitization.
“Shipmanagers are expected to be at the forefront of the digitalisation wave,” Schou believes. “There is no turning back to the past where being manual and analog is acceptable. In the very near future, having real time vessel performance information on hand will be a norm and expected. Digital transformation is imperative for us to continue delivering efficient and excellent ship management under the backdrop of the ever increasing regulatory environment.”
The vision for his company is to deliver shipmanagement services in an ecosystem where real time information is transmitted from vessel to shore for further analysis to enable informed decision making. This vision is not too far away, Schou believes. A crucial enabler for this to happen is internet connectivity, something that is still a challenge onboard today but won’t be soon. “Connectivity issues could soon be a thing in the past,” Schou anticipates.
“With the economies of scale and digital infrastructure established, we are able to provide the digitalisation experience at a fraction of cost and most importantly we are able to do it quickly. This is an exciting time for us indeed and we hope to spread our ambition to all whom are keen to be in the bandwagon with us,” the shipmanager concludes.