Seascape rises to the challenges of pandemic disruption and of technology
The current situation with Coronavirus COVID-19 and its surrounding uncertainty is more than challenging and needs business acumen for people and companies to ensure and guarantee their continuous presence in the Shipping World.
The supply chain which includes marine equipment, products and services is paramount for the normal operation of any type of ship.
Maria Papadoyanne inks here below the questions put forward by Anny Zade on timely issues for spares, repairs and services in the shipping supplies, equipment, repairs and services sector:
1)Seascape has built a formidable list of international representations in the fields of marine engines, spares and other equipment, and repair support. How is the company managing to maintain its service to the shipping industry amid all the restrictions on travel, transport and movement that have come with the Covid-19 emergency?
It is a fact that COVID-19 has brought ups and downs in all sectors of the economy. Unfortunately, Shipping was the first to be affected, since the Far East is the “birthplace” of COVID-19 and as is well known, the majority of vessels pass through the region.
Despite these unexpected adverse conditions, SEASCAPE managed to remain faithful to the basic principle of our philosophy which is to provide high quality services. Our long term and trustful cooperation with both our customers and suppliers have helped us to overcome any obstacles we have faced so far. Either with the production of goods or forwarding them. We always find the best possible solution for the ship, which is our top priority.
2)I believe you personally have always travelled a great deal to maintain your contacts worldwide – how are you overcoming the current limitations on business travel?
COVID-19 has hit the world, and our entire life has changed! There are a certain number of cases and deaths worldwide, the global economy has been affected very badly, and the way we live and work has changed dramatically.
Unfortunately, neither we nor our partners can travel in order to visit each other. Therefore, we carry out web meetings, and we communicate by using social media.
Our main priority at the moment is to keep our families and all people safe and healthy, which is why we have to come to terms with the current situation.
I miss traveling not only for business purposes, but also for my personal pleasure; however, as I mentioned earlier we have to come to terms with the current situation in order to ensure a healthy and full of travels future.
3)The company is proud to promote “sustainable and innovative solutions.” Technology is moving fast, with regulation and intense industry debate over how to secure cleaner propulsion, and the advent of artificial intelligence and automation, How are you liaising with your suppliers to ensure that they, and you, are with your and their offerings in the forefront of developments?
It is a fact that technology is evolving rapidly, and we all have to follow and adapt to be able to cover vessels’ increasing needs and ensure the safety at seas and the economic viability of the shipping companies.
Thus, all the manufacturers which we represent are fully compliant with IMO regulations and their research departments continuously adapt the new rules to their existing or under development equipment. We also noticed that they invest more and more in automation and artificial intelligence facilities as the global trend requires.
Seascape supports our principals’ efforts in this regard, providing them market feedback and holding technical seminars for consultation with our customers and training of our team. At the same time we also enjoy the high technology benefits in our own company, as we always use and invest in advanced software.
4)The company sees its challenge as continuing its “expansion into both the existing and new areas of technical and maintenance activities.” What do you see as the most exciting possibilities for company activity?
The Founder and CEO of our company, Mr Dimitris Liaskonis, has more than 40 years’ expertise in the industry. The company initially specialised in vessels’ engine spare parts supplies and technical support, which remains our main activity. Nevertheless, the last years we have also developed two new departments concerning deck equipment supplies, repair services, and newbuilding projects; consequently, our network keeps expanding!
Our primary goal is to develop new partnerships with notable factories around the world, with any kind of vessel equipment as long as it is consistent with our company’s culture and principles. Especially these days that automation has entered dynamically on ships, co-operation with a manufacturer with innovative equipment will greatly interest us.
5)Sadly, Posidonia and other exhibitions and events that are usually good marketing platforms for your services have been postponed or cancelled this year. How are you pursuing your marketing activities without these face-to-face opportunities?
We undoubtedly live through unprecedented and historical moments. My nine year old daughter appreciated the significance when she said to me “I’ll tell them to / narrate them to my grandchildren”.
Unfortunately, all exhibitions worldwide, including Posidonia, have been cancelled and obviously, it will take some years for exhibitions to be held normally again. That is why virtual exhibitions have already entered our lives, and our company already investigates all the possibilities in this direction.
We, at Seascape, have now turned to the electronic approach of marketing such as web meetings, webinars, videos, print & electronic press etc and so far we have received many positive responses from our customers and all our partners.
6)Seascape has a substantial and impressive female representation in its management team. What importance to you attach to having a diverse workforce, and what can be done to attract even more women to the maritime sector?
Indeed, female representation dominates in our company not only for our staff – of which the majority is women – but for the board of directors which consists of 5 women, something unusual in the business world.
This was a vision of our founder Mr Liaskonis, who always believed in women’s special skills and professionalism.
Shipping has always been a male-dominated industry, and the same is true in many similar professions; however, this is changing and gender equality is now recognised as a very important foundation in order to build a sustainable future for the domestic and global shipping community. Now you can find many women in managerial positions, such as Ship Owners, Naval Architects, Lawyers and of course the women seafarers the numbers of which are increasing spectacularly day by day.
Please be reminded of the Goal No. 5 of the United Nations, which is “to achieve gender equality and empower all women”. Today this goal is not industry-specific, but there is a clear expectation that it must be widespread and apply in all areas of society and industry, including Shipping.
It is also noteworthy to emphasise the remarkable work of WISTA, of which I am a member since 2017. WISTA fights for the important role and consolidation of women in the world of shipping.
As a manager in a company where the majority are women, I have to admit that there is a perfect cooperation with everyone and a pleasant atmosphere for which many would be jealous to have in their daily lives.
and 7)The company is keen to support Greek arts and culture and lists several examples of this commitment on the website. At an extremely difficult time for the arts sector, what more can be done to show your valued support?
The culture of our company is directly intertwined with the love for the arts. This comes from Mr Liaskonis himself who has always supported this sector, recognising its importance as a source of inspiration, creativity, and spiritual uplift.
Engineering has to do with art as well! After all, the design of a ship contains a lot of artistic elements, doesn’t it?
Another reason why we should support the arts, especially today, is the rapid technological development – which we have discussed above – that, in addition to all its other benefits, tends to alter the human personality. Art in its forms can be the antipode of any threat thus involved, and that is why we all have a moral duty to support the arts whether we are fond of particular elements of them or not!
For this year, the Christmas gift of our company has been curated by a very remarkable artist, working on an anniversary idea from Mr Liaskonis. We believe that recipients will love it!.