Adami explains why: “Shipping management firms run ships on behalf of the owners, in exchange for a monthly retainer. The relative success or failure of a given shipowner does not affect our revenue. When shipowners do go bankrupt – and many have during the current crisis – banks take over the ships. But banks continue to need professionals to manage the ships for them, and so, even when times are challenging, we continue to prosper as an industry.”
Cyprus’ ship management sector now has 60 per cent of the European market, thanks to its skill at managing people and its advanced stage of digitalisation, according to Adami.
“Concern for human excellence is a key part of the Cyprus ship management sector,” Adami insists, in an interview with the Cyprus Mail.
“About half of the workforce in the Cyprus sector receive their training here on the island. There are a number of private universities here that offer courses in shipping. This enables us to ensure that they have the skills that they need.”
But attention to crew skillsets and training does not stop there. “Cyprus ship management firms also recruit personnel for crews in the Philippines, in Indonesia and, of course, in China. To ensure that these crew members have the skills to meet our standards, we review their skills in testing centres.”
It is this intense attention to human excellence that makes ships managed by Cypriot firms more productive than others, Adami points out.
To give an example, one such firm is the Nicosia-based FML Ship Management. This May marks the 13-year anniversary of FML Ship Management in Cyprus. Over its history, FML Ship Management has provided its services to more than 36 first class ship-owners and more than 100 vessels. Currently, FML manages 40 ships with a team of 40 professionals. FML director Sunil Kapoor says that the firm plans to expand to 50 ships under full technical management in the near future.
Another element in the success achieved by the ship management sector in Cyprus is its high level of digitalisation, according to Adami.
“Back in the days when we all started with DOS-based systems, Cyprus ship managers saw the potential for greater efficiency in maintenance, and began digitalising. Since then, they have of course used Oracle to digitalise maintenance, and since then have moved up to the latest technology in databases and human resources management.”
The combination of leveraging cutting-edge technology and careful attention to human capacity is a key to the success of the Cyprus ship management sector, which showed total revenues of €581 million in 2019.
“This is in line with the relatively good performance of the industry during the period 2018H1 – 2019H1, which on average exhibited higher revenues per period compared with 2016 and 2017,” according to a study by the Central Bank of Cyprus for the previous year.