Officer shortage highlighted

Jun 26 2015

Despite the shortage of officer crew receding, shipping will require an additional 42,500 officers by the end of 2019 to cope with the expected growth

According to the latest manning report* published by shipping consultancy Drewry, the main cargo carrying fleet will see the equivalent of 7% growth over the five year period.

Current officer supply is in the order of 615,000 and there is a nominal shortfall of about 15,000 officers, which is expected to remain the case until 2019. In general, the shortfall is made up by officers working longer shift patterns.

“There is still a shortage of officers but the gap between demand and supply has narrowed as the recent growth in fleet size is coming to an end,”said Malcolm Jupe, Drewry lead analyst.

Although ratings remuneration packages tend to follow the ITF standard terms, officer earnings are more market driven; Northwest Europe is, however, the principle exception to the rule. In the current market, most shipowners cannot afford significant wage increases and any increases seen between 2014 and 2015 were modest in nature.

It is also the case that ships are getting bigger and larger ships provide more shipping capacity for the same number of vessels. This is also helping to ease some of the pressure on manning.

“Manning is normally the single largest cost head in ship operations. Keeping these costs under control remains very important to all ship owners, especially when trading conditions are weak, as is the case in some of the key shipping freight markets – such as dry bulk carriers,”Jupe concluded.

*Manning is an annual report published by Drewry Maritime Research and is priced at £1,395 for a single issue.

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