The international shipping industry will require an additional 42,500 officers by the end of 2019 to cope with the expected growth in the main cargo carrying fleet, according to the latest Manning report published by global shipping consultancy Drewry.
This is equivalent to a staggering 7% growth over the five year period, but the persistent shortage of officer crew is receding, Drewry says.
Current officer supply is in the order of 615,000 and there a nominal shortfall of approximately 15,000 officers, which is expected to remain the case until 2019. In the meantime, this shortfall is made up by officers working longer shift patterns, Drewry says.
“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, Lead Analyst at Drewry.
Drewry notes that although crew compensation packages tend to follow the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) standard terms, officer earnings are more market driven – West Europe is however the principle exception to the rule.
In the current market, most ship owners simply cannot afford significant increases in wage rises and any increases which have been seen between 2014 and 2015 have been 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, which 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”, added Jupe.
On Thursday, the international maritime community will be celebrating the International Maritime Organization’s Day of the Seafarer 2015, recognizing the world’s seafarers and the contributions they make to the global economy and society. This year’s theme is focussed on maritime training and drawing young people towards a career at sea.