Wilhelmsen insights

The personal presence matters

A pandemic silver lining.

Wilhelmsen insights |
Wilhelmsen Ship Management

It has been more than 1 year since we grappled with realities of the pandemic. There were many learnings in this journey - stumbling blocks and silver linings encountered.

We asked Carl Schou, the CEO & President of Wilhelmsen Ship Management if he learnt anything from the pandemic and he gave a resounding, "Yes! I actually learnt a lot and at the same time taken a few steps back to revisit the roots of the industry."

He refers our crew and vessels as the roots of the industry. During the pandemic, our CEO based in Singapore - used every opportunity available in his schedule to go onboard our managed ships that calls in Singapore. Singapore has been keeping the pandemic situation under control with tight measures which made ship visits difficult but still possible when adhering to the additional precautions.


With travel bans enforced, this has disrupted Carl's typical schedule where he spends 140-180 travel days per year to fulfil his leadership role in our global offices, business development, formality visits to clients, speaking at seminars, and the list goes on.

"Perhaps the silver lining here is the increased time spent on board with our crew that gave me a deeper perspective on the environment on board - something you can't get from reading reports or dashboards," said Carl.

There are many things to observe during his visits on board. Carl likes to visit all places onboard especially the bosun shop, paint store and engine room. Carl shared his rationale on this, "Just by observing the conditions such as tidiness gives me a quick understanding of how the crew structure their workday. As the saying goes - you can determine how a ship is run by just walking up the gangway." Everything adds up to the intangible leading indicator of a well-run ship.

Carl taking a detour to the bosun store (left) and paint store.

During Carl's walkabout onboard, he had many interaction exchanges with the crew. Something that goes unconcealed is the crew’s pride and passion when Carl engages into technical discussion with them.

This is not something to take for granted, I am very proud of the professionalism shown. Everyone is equally motivated to do their part to keep the ship running.

Carl Schou

Crew motivation is a crucial element that affects workplace safety. This is especially so during the pandemic where we can understand our crew’s concern about leaving their families at home.

"It is too easy to sit in an office and have a perception of how crew are feeling and reacting. Go speak to them and you'll be surprised!" Carl advised. Nothing beats the experience of personal presence; something we took for granted before the pandemic.

Casual chat with crew (Before restriction implemented about visitors comsuming food onboard).

Chief Engineer having a run-through with Carl in engine room

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