The situation is so bad, they’re even talking about shipping in the mainstream news. Fancy that! The BBC’s Robert Preston said that he knew the recession was really serious when the Baltic Dry Index crashed several months ago.
What 2009 holds for shipping, nobody knows. Levels of international trade and of trade finance are still bottom-trawling and, even with mass cancellations, an army of newbuildings is coming over the horizon.
Of course, there’s no arguing that there’s a systemic skills shortage in shipping and we’ll still need technical people to manage all these ships as well a whole bunch of claims and legal bods to manage the fallout from all the withdrawals and cancellations. No doubt it will be the chartering, operations and other commercial folk who will fare the worst this year.
As we celebrate the bicentenary of Charles Darwin’s birth, though, let’s not forget the principle of natural selection. In this context survival of the fittest applies to the best companies and to the best people.
Even in a recession the best people are still in demand and, not surprisingly, it’s the best companies who are still prepared to hire them.
We wax a little more lyrical on this topic in our Blog “Recruiting in a Recession”, but for now just think about the difference the best people have made to the best companies over the last couple of years. Who are they? Well, they’re probably the ones who stopped ordering ships two or three years ago, who sold a handful at the top of the market and who are now chartering in other people’s tonnage for a nod and a wink to service the long term CoA business they entered into at what appeared to be such reasonable rates not all that long ago.
If you can count yourself among them, if you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, if you can trust yourself when all men doubt you….
Well, if you’re familiar with Rudyard Kipling, you’ll get the picture. Either way, we take our hat off to you who are those people and you who employ them!