June 15, 2020

Nor-Shipping 2017 conference highlights need for partnerships

New technologies and ever-changing trade flows discussed at Nor-Shipping 2017 highlighted the need for more collaboration in the maritime sector, according to Nor-Shipping Director Birgit Liodden.

“The industry is already changing fast. But we need to find the right partners to switch our development into overdrive – to finally rid ourselves of the historical, cyclical problems that plague us and access new potential. This isn’t just a pipedream; I believe we can really transform our prospects if we work together,” she says in a post conference media statement.

Nor-Shipping 2017, which took place across a series of venues in Oslo and Lillestrøm from 30 May to 2 June, held more events than ever (220), brought together more speakers than past programmes (150), and welcomed exhibitors from some 48 countries, according to the organisers.

SAIMI feedback from Nor-Shipping 2017

SAIMI partnered with SAMSA on an exhibition stand, together with industry stakeholders, the dti and Saldanha Bay IDZ.

South Africa’s presence was complemented by an Africa Podium event.

SAIMI deputy CEO Vanessa Davidson made a short presentation on skills development bottlenecks at the conference. She says skills development challenges were one of the themes of the conference, with there being engagement and discussion on what skills are needed by the collaborative and transparent shipping economics of the future.

“Keynote speaker Kate Adamson noted the new generation will live to 100 – which means we are not training for 10 years. We are people training for 80 years – and they don’t just want money, they want meaningful jobs.

“I think this is an interesting observation when one considers how we tackle qualifications, policy and human capital development in general in South Africa,” says Davidson.

“Another challenge raised when discussing the imperative of crew safety is that, while vessels are becoming more technologically complex the industry has many crew members who come from non-technological backgrounds.

“Bridging the divide and upholding crew safety as the number one imperative creates some interesting challenges for training and development programmes”. SAIMI National Cadet Programme manager Yvette de Klerk says three focus areas highlighted during the Waves of Change session were leadership, the environment, and the future. This session particularly looked at transforming tomorrow within this digitalised age - As companies position for the digital revolution, fixing the systems are not enough. Manning and developing people is the key. New agile leadership replaces traditional management.

In addition, in answering the question of 'how do juniors gain experience?’ - reference was made to either being a 'front runner’ or a ‘fast follower’. De Klerk noted that in some respects South Africa may currently be further behind than we would ideally like to be in terms of utilising technology more regularly as an integral part of maritime training, as well as securing cadet training opportunities on technologically advanced vessels. “We need to thus very quickly become ‘fast followers’ if we wish to keep up with international trends and ensure our seafarers are marketable internationally”, says De Klerk.

Also highlighted was the very dire need to develop and support existing mentorship programmes, and the importance of emotional intelligence, social and mental skills - as opposed to trainees just acquiring technical skills. These same sentiments were shared at the Transas Global Conference held in Malta earlier this year.

“In terms of maritime awareness and attracting the next generation to a career within the wider maritime industry in South Africa - “New Growth, and a Proud History” are words that inspired. This is a term coined during the session focussing on ‘Sustainability and the Power of Role Models’,” De Klerk said.

Davidson and De Klerk say the presentations attended and the contacts made with training and research institutions around the world will help SAIMI to guide the future direction of maritime training in South Africa.

About the author

Issued by Issued by Siyathetha Communications on behalf of the South African International Maritime Institute.

SAIMI CEO: Odwa Mtati – 082 783 6810 Siyathetha: Ed Richardson: +27 41 582 3750 / 083 656 9757

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