SNAME GREEK SECTION
ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE IN MARITIME STUDIES
18 June 2019
Subject: Opportunities that exist for Graduates of Maritime Studies in the Advanced Technology Era
Dear Sname’s family,
Ladies and gentlemen,
As president of Eugenides Foundation, as IMO Ambassador in Greece and as MCILT, we welcome you at Eugenides Foundation, the home as we believe of maritime education in Greece.
It is our honor to host Sname’ s Greek section- 1st ever – award ceremony recognizing the excellence of scholarship winners in their academic performance.
With more than 6000 members around 85 countries, Sname is assisting not only the career of its members but greatly contributes into the successful Innovative evolution in the Maritime and ocean professional fields.
The title of my speech tonight “Opportunities that exist for Graduates of Maritime Studies in the Advanced Technology Era “is quite challenging when addressing an audience like the Sname family. The range and quality of your educational interests and competence in the fields of Naval Architecture, Marine Engineering and promising Ocean Engineering, the Quality of your Educational Institution together with your committed hard work and continuous activities create great opportunities for the employability of your members to which we shall refer to at a later stage. Furthermore, and I refer not only to the Greek members of Sname, you all know what Greek Shipping means in the World’s Maritime Transportation Arena. You may be also be leaders in your specific field like Greek Shipping is for the Shipping Industry, in fighting against the Law of Disruption, the law which says that “technology changes exponentially, but social economic and legal systems change incrementally and struggle to keep-up”. Of course, this issue concerns Global and Local Stakeholders, and some may argue how difficult it is for society to fight its own inertia. But in the context of such cataclysmic change around us, you may be sharing my vision for
being among the protagonists in Business, in Education and in Research and especially, you today being the recipients of recognition of excellence, of being the young vibrant and extroverted generation of our future.
Let me move on at this point to some remarks about the shipping industry
During 2017, we saw the first rays of improved market conditions for global shipping after a long and deep market recession and challenged fundamentals across most shipping sectors.
The global upswing, underway since mid-2016, continued to strengthen through 2018 bringing about 2.9 pct. annual global GDP growth. World trade also grew by 3%, although below its average rates before the crisis and still lower than initially estimated, but following encouraging signs in 2017, the year before. In 2018 global trade was clearly supported by pickup in investment, particularly among advanced economies, and increased industrial production in Asia, coupled with strengthening business and commodities trade, growth supported by consumer confidence. The welcomed cyclical upturn, after the very disappointing growth over the past few years, provided a window of opportunity for shipping markets to expand. Better market prospects were clearly visible for containerships, though oversupply and consolidation of players create concerns for the future. The recovery of the dry bulk carrier sector although evident is still precarious with a suspected trend towards a fast mean reversal of rates. Uncertainty continued to prevail in the tanker and gas markets as the developments in the energy sector and geopolitics continued their strange dance. In all this context, downward risks such as increased inward looking policies, protectionism and major geopolitical upheavals may result in threats of extreme disruption. A potential threat lies also in the increasing regionalization of the world seaborne trade and another in a potential new crisis in the financial markets, but this is after all what shipping is about: ability to assess, to vision and to adapt.
Shipping is a key constituent part for world welfare as about 80 pct. of world trade is seaborne, maritime transport being the most cost efficient and sustainable mode of all for the transport of cargoes.
Despite adversities and uncertainties, the performance of Greek Shipping remains quite impressive. Greek population represents only 0.15% of the world population, there too it is quite remarkable, the percentage of Greek owned ships that carry the global seaborne trade is about a hundred times that at close to 20 pct. According to the latest figures, the Greek controlled fleet amounts to 4,746 vessels (over 1.000 grt), totaling 365,45 million deadweight tons (dwt), an increase of approximately 6.6% from the previous year. Greek fleet represents 19. 89% of world tonnage in terms of dwt and 49. 15% of the EU dwt capacity respectively and despite the gradual disappearance of traditional shipping finance, Greek shipowners lead both in new building orders and in the 2nd hand market maintaining their leading position in all different major types of vessels namely in tankers and dry bulk, whereas the Greek fleet average age is around 11.5 years versus 14.6 for world fleet age average. Greek Shipping’s contribution to Greek GDP at a critical time of the latter falling for years, has been around 6%, if not more, offering jobs to about 15.000 Greek Seafarers and generating – directly or indirectly – employment for a further 170.000 people ashore through a wide range of Maritime professions across the and beyond the Maritime Cluster. Good as things may be more can certainly be done. Allow me to revert to this point later on also.
Let us now consider Greek Shipping in a European perspective:
Greek Shipping secures EU’s energy needs through the provision of reliable, efficient, greener and safer transportation – as maritime transport is – for the benefit of EU citizens and of the EU economy at large: Sea transport handles almost 75% of the EU’s external trade by volume. The industry contributes around €56 billion to EU gross domestic product (GDP) and directly employs some 615 000 people (80% of them at sea and 20% ashore) while indirectly supporting around 2.2 million jobs. Today, the EU controls around 4 % of global tonnage and boasts the world’s largest and most innovative fleet on a regional basis.
Here I have emphasized the importance of European Union, of which you, and I address myself to the younger generation, are members, therefore easily potential players in different professional fields (apart from the traditional destinations of Marine and Maritime Business and academia and research, I would like to see Greek talents in the future leading in European Economic, Technical and Legal Maritime Policy; why not?).
For every euro of GDP that the European shipping industry generates, an additional 1.6 euro is created elsewhere in the EU economy. Getting goods to clients quickly, whether inside or outside the EU, is critical for economic growth. Moreover, maritime shipping is more environmentally friendly than road and air transportation. It is therefore essential to protect jobs and ensure the sector’s competitiveness by closely monitoring and upgrading sectoral skills.
A popular expression lately has been that shipping is in Greeks DNA. There is obviously no biological reference here; only one to the driving force behind a small nation, even at times a nation without a country of its own. It is this unshaken bond between Ship and the human factor created throughout the centuries the passing of knowledge and of informal know -how, the freedom of entrepreneurship in a most constraining otherwise local economic environment; it is support and solidarity among the members of our maritime community and more than anything else it is respect, shown and won. and hard work.
I firmly believe that, under the auspices of IMO, the World Maritime Community should become further engaged in the fields of research, innovation and education, contributing with passing on successful entrepreneurship skills, know-how and examples to the next generations of ships and shipping professionals.
It is my conviction that Greece will certainly have a leading role in this process commensurate to its leading presence and long tradition..
Greek shipowners, who were among the first to highlight the challenges of the 2020 global sulphur cap. Through their experience, their skills and commitment they shall I believe, continue to be leading all necessary processes to enhance safety and environmental protection. However, we should take special care that these processes – under no circumstances – destroy competition. It is of the utmost importance, that the principle of free and fair competition in open trades – as well as the level playing field -shall be maintained. The freedom of the seas, for which many great nations strived, is an indispensable tool for the world’s welfare. “The Sea unites; it does not separate” nations but it does so through the transport by it being an efficient, barrier and frontier free, industry.
Shipping and of course Greek shipping cannot be conceived without Greek Seafarers from where so many of its subsequent leaders emerged. As IMO Ambassador in Greece and a member of the Eugenides Foundation family, we join forces with UGS in order to attract young Greeks into the Maritime professions and invite them to get onboard Ships; one of
our main missions as a foundation is to support the State in order to further improve our educational system. The common goal of the wider maritime community of the country must be to prepare properly educated new deck and engine officers. In the course of the 4th Industrial Revolution and of the new hybrid of IT relation between vessel and office, emphasis should be placed on education on STEM and new technologies. Our educational system should encourage all young students from properly run technical lyceums, well organized Merchant Marine Academies and strong private educational establishments to follow a career taking them to the sea. This is of course is a constant uphill battle which we have to win in unison, working together by establishing long-term close cooperation among industry stakeholders, research institutes and training providers at all levels.
But even more I firmly believe that Greek Academia should play a leading role apart from the provision of study programs in research for the future of maritime education and provide innovative solutions for all problems related to all different aspects of the Marine, the Maritime and of Ocean Fields. We have a lot more to do in most areas but still I want to believe that we have come a long way successfully and that this path will lead us to find the solutions to cater for our challenging and traditional times.
Innovation will be key everywhere in this process, within and beyond education. As, mentioned also by the BLUEPRINT for sectoral co-operation on skills (Wave II), “the seas and the oceans have been drivers for the European economy throughout history, a source of growth and of resources but also of inspiration. The European maritime technology industry has been a forerunner and a world leader in terms of innovation. Through activities of the industry itself, through independent research activities and through official EU funded initiatives Europe has become a key enabler, yielding the most advanced technologies and research structures required to ensure the development across all of the maritime sector, from ship automation to renewable energies or aquaculture”. As the Blueprint underlines “This is vital to secure Europe’s needs in terms of transport, defense, energy and food supply”.
Technological advances in the shipping industry, such as autonomous ships, drones and various blockchain applications, hold considerable promise for the supply side of shipping. However, there is still uncertainty within the maritime industry regarding possible safety, security and cybersecurity incidents; there is also concern about the impact on seafaring jobs, most of which constitute a significant income for a large number of seafarers originating from developing countries.
While the development and use of autonomous ships could offer numerous benefits, it is still unclear how rapid its pace of introduction will be. Even at the level of the IMO the whole issue has been tackled, so far, regionally. There are legitimate concerns about the safety and security of the operation of autonomous ships and their reliability. Autonomy is a drastic step and we can ponder on the TESLA incidents. I leave aside whether we could envisage some shipping segments as being opportune fields for its introduction. We had also two painful recent reminders how increasing autonomy may prove the ground for a conflict between system and operator and that systems, be these of the technologically advanced aviation, are not infallible.
There is, of course, this other revolutionary development beyond the average ability of IT systems until yesterday. Already, many blockchain technology initiatives and partnerships have the potential to be used for tracking cargo and providing end-to-end supply chain visibility. Recording information on vessels, including on global risks and exposure,; integrating smart contracts and marine insurance policies,; and digitalizing and automating paper filings and documents, can save time and cost for clearance and movement of cargo. Combining on- board systems and digital platforms allows for vessels
and their cargo to become part of the Internet of things. A key challenge will be to establish interoperability so that data can be exchanged seamlessly, while ensuring at the same time cybersecurity and the protection of commercially sensitive or private data, in view also of the recent General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union.
Many technological advances are applicable in ports and terminals and offer an opportunity for port stakeholders to innovate and generate additional value in the form of greater efficiency, enhanced productivity, greater safety and heightened environmental protection. In the light of these developments, ports and terminals worldwide need to re-evaluate their role in global maritime logistics and to prepare to effectively embrace and leverage digitalization-driven innovations and technologies
This digitalized world, in transition towards a greener economy, amidst demographic changes is increasing the skills’ gap. As workers and companies struggle to deal with it, the European economy is suffering already while the EU is working already toward finding ways to reduce it.
According to the Skills for jobs database of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), at least 80 million workers in Europe are mismatched in terms of qualifications. This means workers lack the proper qualification for the job they have been hired to do, either because they are under-qualified or overqualified.
According to the OECD, this is the case for 42% of workers in Greece, 41% in Portugal or 37% in Germany. The so-called ‘skills shortage’ has an economic impact both on workers and businesses.
On the one hand, companies experience difficulties in hiring people for the openings they have. This results in unfilled positions for long, which in turn leads to delays in the production process. On the other hand, if companies end up hiring under-qualified people for the job, they will have to spend money and time to train them, which also slows production but affects also innovation drives and opportunities.
Data confirm that the shift towards a knowledge-based digital economy is already underway and that governments, workers and firms altogether face many challenges ahead,” the OECD report highlighted.
In 2016, the European Commission launched a New Skills Agenda for Europe. However, education and training remain a national competence. Shipping as frontrunner in such fields should take a leading role in this process.
The Commission considered that skills “are a pull factor for investment” and a “catalyst” for job creation and growth and that “They are key to social cohesion, ». The actions in the EU agenda aim mainly to provide better information on the current state of the labour market, guidance for member states on how to improve education systems and enhance collaboration between stakeholders – trade unions, companies and education institutions – to find solutions to the problem.
The European Union through its Blueprint for Sectoral cooperation skills wants to, and I quote:
▪ “Identify skills’ needs (both sector-specific and soft skills) and related profiles in the areas of i) traditional maritime technology products, such as shipbuilding and offshore oil & gas, etc. ii) renewable energy including offshore wind, ocean energy, etc. iii) other Blue Economy relevant sectors, for example aquaculture, marine biotechnology, monitoring & observation;
▪ Develop and implement a program or scheme to improve the image of the maritime technology sector at EU level and to raise awareness of career opportunities;
▪ Develop a program to boost ocean literacy across Europe, through innovative activities;
▪ Create schemes to develop internship and mobility programs for students across Europe to test their acquired skills in relevant companies or public bodies;
▪ Develop a maritime entrepreneurship scheme to support students with innovative ideas in the maritime technology sector.”
So, this is a perfect timing for people with innovation ambitions and skills and for the younger generations with such a frame of mind. But the key word, as I mentioned before, should be your tuning towards the term “employability”.
Employability is related to work and the ability to be employed, such as:
• The ability to gain initial employment; hence the interest in ensuring that ‘key competencies’, careers advice and an understanding about the world of work are embedded in the education system
• The ability to maintain employment and make ‘transitions’ between jobs and roles within the same organization to meet new job requirements
• The ability to obtain new employment if required, i.e. to be independent in the labour market by being willing and able to manage their own employment transitions between and within organizations (Van der Heijden and Van der Heijden (2005). The continuously fulfilling, acquiring or creating of work through the optimal use of efforts).
To sustain, however, employability continuous learning is critical, and it falls on the educational system, but not on it alone, to nurture and develop the skill of continuous improvement.
At, this point, Ladies and Gentlemen, and concluding soon, I would like to mention the following Top 12 Skills (according to Career Service Study of Cork University) that make you Employable , and to which I – 100 pct. -subscribe:
«Personal Development – “Getting the most from yourself and others”
All employers will want to know that you’re committed to your own self-development. There are many ways to demonstrate this. It might be that you’ve overcome a difficult obstacle or you could have gone out of your way to learn a new skill. What is important is that you have pushed yourself..
Communication – “Listening actively as well making yourself heard”
Employers look for people who know how to get their point across clearly, articulately and professionally. Just as importantly, you should be a good listener – you’ll take other people’s opinions on board and actively seek out feedback. You’ll also be comfortable in talking to groups.
Creativity and Innovation – “Seeing newer and better ways forward”
Successful organization are fueled by good ideas. Employers will want to know that you can come up with interesting suggestions and that you’re always looking for better ways of doing things. Good ideas come in all sorts of shapes and sizes – and the best ideas aren’t necessarily the biggest
Teamwork – “Supporting other people to achieve success”
The ability to get along with others and to lead a team to success is vital to any organization. This means that you need to be able to demonstrate that you’re a natural team player and that you can adapt your style to accommodate others if you need to.
Professionalism – “Taking pride in everything you do”
Employers will expect you to be committed to delivering the best standards, adopting the right procedures and maintaining the highest levels of confidentiality. This means staying motivated and for all talks and upholding complete professionalism, even in conflicts or difficult conversations.
Organizational skills – “Juggling priorities and preparing for the unexpected”
In most jobs, you’ll be expected to take responsibility for your own workload. Employers will want to know how you manage your coursework and used your initiative to deal with the unexpected.
Flexibility – “Being adaptable”
As an employee, it is vital that you keep pace with a constantly evolving workplace. You’ll need to show that you respond to change positively and can adapt quickly while still working productively to a high standard.
Commercial awareness – “Knowing how to add value”
Whatever sector you want to work in, it’s important that you understand how it operates and the different issues that affect it. Look also at the skills sought by employers in your sector and think about how you will show that you can apply them to add value to their organization.
Problem solving/analyzing – “Looking at issues from a different angle”
In the world of work, things don’t always go according to plan. That is why employers need to know that you can analyze information, identify any potential issues and come up with effective solutions.
Initiative – “Thinking ahead and on your feet”
In any job, you’ll need to be able to take the initiative. Although it’s important that you follow the right rules and regulations, you should also be confident when it comes to suggesting new or different ways of doing things or anticipating problems or issues before they arise.
Ability to use new technologies
Technology is involved in almost every job. It is the 21st century way of doing and working whether this involves keeping records of information, communicating with others, maintaining accounts or understanding a manufacturing system. Almost every job involves using technology some sort. It is vital to be comfortable with it.
Commercial awareness is the ability to understand what makes a business or organization successful, through either buying or selling products or supplying services to a market. Does the organization produce, sell, or buy products? Or is it in the services or ideas business?
Who are its customers? Are the other businesses, or ‘ordinary people’? What’s going on in the market sector? Are there legal or regulatory changes on the way, or does the economic situation have a larger-than-usual impact? Having commercial awareness is also as important for the Public Sector.
Why not assess the Employability Skills you currently have? you may be pleasantly surprised to find out what you have to offer employers and to your future career. »
Dear all, I have tried to present to you my thoughts regarding, in particular, the opportunities and challenges for the younger and future Sname members in the Advanced Technology ERA. There is no doubt that the timing for the ones who have the knowledge, talent and perseverance is the perfect one. The best of captains is proven in rough or unknown seas, the best of engineers in the periods of shifting technological paradigms. A famous 19th century man that you all know, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, springs to mind as an example.
I wish for you an excellent career here in Greece because brain drain is killing our country, but I am convinced also that, in case of international career, you can spread your wings and fly to become successful professionals anywhere in the world; and I am equally convinced that in that case, you shall never forget Ithaka.