Ask the expert: Surjeet Singh

Should companies in the maritime sector outsource their human resource operations?
Ask the expert: Surjeet Singh
By Surjeet Singh
Fri 22 Aug 2008 04:00 AM

Should you consider outsourcing to an external service provider?

Sea freight companies in the region face pressures from a massive increase in business and a shortage of trained staff. Therefore, in order for these companies to focus on their core activities, it's more than prudent that they outsource their non-core activities like manpower requirements to specialist companies.

Hiring the services of a manpower outsourcing company can help to reduce the burdens of market challenges.

Managing the workforce in the current market can be so complicated that it eventually impacts the company's bottom line. The key elements of any sea freight movement - sea ports, shipping lines and freight forwarders - usually face lean and peak periods throughout the year, which means they face a great deal of fluctuation in their manpower requirements.

Many companies handle this scenario by keeping higher personnel levels resulting in lower utilisation, thus increasing their overhead costs.

To make matters worse, the logistics industry is currently experiencing a skills shortage in the region, with increased difficulties in sourcing multi-skilled professionals. The hiring process also requires high level managerial involvement which could be deemed as unproductive time utilisation. What are the benefits of working with a specialist third party?

Hiring the services of a manpower outsourcing company can help to reduce the burdens of these market challenges.

Companies such as Dulsco are able to meet any short noticed manpower requirements of their customers with the possibility of providing a selection of personnel with easy, immediate replacement possibilities if any of the supplied personnel is deemed unsuitable or suddenly becomes unavailable due to sickness. The current Market scenario and future prospects

Dulsco, which has been serving its customers for past 72 years, has considerable experience in the field of manpower supply operations.

In particular, it has seen demand from the logistics industry continue to grow, especially in terms of break-bulk vessel discharge, crane and derrick operations, container stuffing, latching, bagging and de-bagging.

Over the years, the company has secured a number of contracts from maritime heavyweights such as DP World, Al Khaleej Sugar and Al-Futtaim Logistics. In view of the immense growth projected for this industry, the future of manpower supplies look very bright.

A case study from the Middle East Sea Freight industry

In view of the continuously increasing costs of shipping, it became pertinent for Al Khaleej Sugar to work on its overheads in order to maintain and increase profitability.

With this primary objective in mind, the company had to balance its human resource levels to match the highly fluctuating import and export bulk shipping patterns without compromising on the quality of people they deploy for these jobs.

For Al Khaleej Sugar, partnering with Dulsco ensured it got the required manpower without incurring the high costs that are associated with boosting the workforce for tasks such as stuffing and de-stuffing containers at its plant.

For smooth uninterrupted operations, Dulsco and Al Khaleej Sugar's management collaborate closely to monitor and accurately forecast the expected work loads.

The manpower provided for the above operations is thoroughly trained, not only in the work processes but also in the safety parameters and standards set up by both the companies. The importance of preparing for future growth in demand

According to various market research reports, the Middle East maritime industry is expected to continue its growth in the coming years, as is the accompanying level of sea freight movements.

In addition, seeing how lucrative this region is, we expect more global freight forwarders and shipping lines to enter the region and tap the potential of this high growth region, especially the UAE.

To keep pace with this increased demand, Dulsco has prepared itself by keeping focused on this industry and creating a specialist team to handle this segment of the business. This creation is expected to add immense value to Dulsco and its logistics and sea freight customers in future.

Surjeet Singh is the general manager of Dulsco Logistics.

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