Executive interview - BIMCO Bulletin

Executive interview

NEW THE EXECUTIVE INTERVIEW March 2020 Kishore Rajvanshy: the biggest challenge in 2020 is piracy In each issue, the Bulletin interviews a shipping executive about current topics, challenges, opportunities and personal background. This edition, the Bulletin talks to Kishore Rajvanshy, Managing Director of Hong Kong-based Fleet IManagement Limited (FLEET). t was without hesitation that Kishore Rajvanshy picked piracy, when asked what he believes to be the biggest challenge of 2020 for the company he manages – and to the shipping industry as a whole. In the longer term, resisting the temptation to opt for the easy solution of slow steaming to cut emissions and thereby putting investments in innovation at risk, will be a challenge for all. By Mette Kronholm Frænde, Communications Manager and Editor at BIMCO “The crew is scared. We have more than 15 ships in the West Africa area at any given time, and apart from taking the precautions available to us, and being in contact with the ships every day, all we can do is cross our fingers,” Rajvanshy says. “To some, the daily threat is something that comes with the job and they face it head on, but many others do not want to work on ships that are going to West Africa. It is very stressful for the crew and very stressful for us in the office as well,” he adds. FLEET manages 520 ships, and despite its constant presence in the area, it has so far avoided attacks in West Africa and Gulf of Guinea region. But there have been attempts and, on one occasion, the crew managed to escape a pirate boat after being chased. Little support in West Africa The security situation has gone from bad to worse, according to Rajvanshy, particularly in the West Africa area where there have been increasingly violent attacks. “We have all come to live with the piracy activities in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean region,” he says. “With the support from security companies, which provide armed guards on board ships, and naval escorts, business continues in the East Africa region.” Rajvanshy says the situation is different in West Africa, because the same kind of security support is not available. When the ship is in coastal waters, the Nigerian Navy can provide some backup but, unlike the Gulf of Aden, once the ship leaves the port, there is no support for the crew to transit safely, he explains. stressful for the crew and FLEET has internal policies and instructions to the crew in place. Such procedures include equipping the ship with barbed wire and making sure vessels are kept between 150 and 200 miles from the coast. very stressful for us in the office as well “It is a big challenge for us every day. We must constantly be in touch with the captains and keep the crew on very high alert. We carry out regular drills and train the staff. But other than that, there is not much we can do,” he says. Calling for a unified approach to address the issue, Rajvanshy believes there is an urgent need to set up common security standards and best-management practices to operate in West Africa. This would reduce the likelihood that owners-operators-charterers would consider the standard set of any one company unreasonable. “Furthermore, through this unified approach, members must actively call on their governments and flag states to have a naval presence in the region to deter pirates – as happened in the Gulf of Aden,” he says. Avoiding the trap of picking the easiest solutions In the longer term, the industry’s biggest challenge will be to cut emissions, according to Rajvanshy. In its search for ways to achieve this, the industry must resist opting for the cheapest and simplest solutions. “The cheapest way to meet the 2050 target of reducing the carbon emission is slow steaming. But if everybody starts to do that, no-one is innovating and no-one is investing in new fuels and new technologies,” he says. Rajvanshy points out that innovation is expensive, and owners may naturally feel they are spending a lot of money without assured returns. He believes the introduction of a fuel levy or extra fuel mark-up to establish a fund for research into alternative fuels and technologies could be an option. “Decarbonisation will challenge our ability to adapt to all these changes in a cost-effective manner. There will need to be a balance but, unless an initiative like this happens, most owners with limited funds for research and development will just opt for slow steaming,” he says. Connect with BIMCO Isawmy first ship in Mumbai and Chennai. I was awestruck by the sheer vastness of it all. The crew is scared... apart from taking the precautions available to us, and being in contact with the ships every day, all we can do is cross our fingers It is very Facebook Twitter Linkedin YouTube From the Thar desert region to Hong Kong What was the first job you ever held and where in the world was it? What was the first job you held in the shipping/ maritime industry and how did you end up there? If you had not ended up in your current line of work, but done something completely different, what would it be and why? Where in the world did you grow up? What do you do when you need to relax from a hectic work life? My first job after graduation was as an engineer in a public works department of a state utility in Rajasthan, India. With a family full of engineers, I decided to follow in their footsteps. For five years, I studied engineering at the university of BITS Pilani, India. In my fourth year, in 1968, while on a study tour, I saw my first ship in Mumbai and Chennai. I was awestruck by the sheer vastness of it all. Watching the ships enter port, seeing them loading and discharging and setting off for foreign lands fascinated me. Back in those days, ships were much smaller than they are today. But to me they looked huge. I couldn’t imagine how these large steel structures could float and navigate the world. The stories of foreign lands shared by my alumni spiked my interest even more. In 1969, I sent a letter and my CV to the Shipping Corporation of India, not really expecting an answer. I had forgotten about my letter when, a couple of months later, I received a reply. I was asked to travel to Bombay for an interview. I started to second-guess my application, not sure whether I wanted to do it. In those days, there was no internet to gather information on what a career at sea would be like, so I sought advice from one of my college professors and anyone who I thought could help give me more information on a shipping career. After many conversations with relatives and friends living in coastal areas like Bombay, Chennai and Kochi, I decided to go to the interview. After an hour and 45-minute interview, I was selected to be a trainee engineer on board ships. The requisite shore-based training followed. Soon after, I was assigned to a large bulk carrier as a trainee engineer – my first job in the shipping/maritime industry. I am trying to think, but cannot really imagine being anywhere else in the world. I guess I love where I am, and what I do, too much. To answer your question specifically, I think I would have been a lawyer. I grew up in the Thar desert region of Rajasthan, India. I find spending time with family and loved ones most relaxing.