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An Industry for All – Hanne-Sofie Strømberg

Watch out for further interviews as we work to support a push towards sustainable equality of treatment and opportunity for everyone within maritime.

If you’d like to nominate someone as a future interview subject please do get in touch!

How did you get involved in the maritime industry?

I’ve been interested in the maritime world my whole life. I grew up next to the ocean and come from a family that has a long history of working at sea. Although I started sailing competitively at an early age, my interest in the industry came after I spent a couple of summers onboard the sailing vessels Christian Radich and Statsraad Lehmkuhl. Onboard these ships I was introduced to the many tasks involved in actually running a ship, and these experiences eventually led me to pursue a Master of Science in Marine Technology from NTNU. After that, the maritime industry was the next natural step. 

Why do you believe people should consider a future within maritime?

The best part about working in the industry is the potential of making it more sustainable and better positioned for the future. The maritime industry has traditionally been conservative and, in some areas, very slow-moving in adopting breakthrough technologies. However, with the opportunities emerging from digital innovations, the speed of new technology adoption is really accelerating. This provides excellent opportunities for emerging talent to introduce fresh ideas.

At Kongsberg Digital, we like to think of ourselves as game changers; looking to shake-up the industry status quo by transforming data into insights. For me, this is a genuinely exciting prospect.

What key lessons have you learnt during your time in the industry, or what advice would you give to others?

Never be afraid to take on an unfamiliar task or assignment – you will gain experience as you do it and your abilities will develop in the process. Say yes to exciting opportunities, especially when it comes to moving abroad and working in maritime hubs like Piraeus, Houston, Shanghai, or Singapore. International work experience is a great asset, regardless of what stage you are at in your career. 

What do you think are the industry’s key strengths and weaknesses – how would you like to see it evolve?

I would say that the maritime industry’s history and long traditions are both a strength and a weakness.

Shipping companies that have enjoyed long-term success are those that have been able to keep up with new developments, whilst also ensuring overall market competitiveness. Being an early mover for new technology comes with the risk of results not living up to expectations. However, being a slow mover creates the danger of being outcompeted by industry rivals. It is not easy to try predicting the future, but I think it is crucial for the maritime industry to be more daring when it comes to try taking advantage of the possibilities available today.

An example of this is the intelligent use of data from vessels. Digital instrumentation for equipment has been generating onboard data for many years, but it is only relatively recently that the industry has begun focusing on capturing and utilizing it for something useful on a large scale. This is, of course, partly due to technology developments, but it is also because the willingness to invest often comes only after someone else have already gained a competitive edge by being the first movers.

The ability to harvest big data from ships and process it to provide insights is something that is changing the shipping industry today… and I think the impact of this revolution is only going to increase. I believe the human element of maritime operations will continue to be essential, and thus history and traditions will continue to be important. However, I would like to see the maritime industry evolve further by taking full advantage of the opportunities presented by digitalization. It is difficult to change the status quo – but not impossible.

What do you like best about a) your current role and b) the industry in general?

In my current role, I enjoy that I have the possibility to contribute to changing the way we work. It is exciting to be involved in an area that is likely to have such a big impact on the future of the industry, where we are enabling the green shift by digitalizing vessels.

Personally, I love working in maritime because it offers an international environment with people from different cultures and backgrounds. I believe that it is when meeting other people one grows as a person. The maritime industry gives you opportunities to work towards, visit or even relocate to locations all over the world. Therefore, I think it provides opportunities to experience, learn and grow beyond what is possible in most other professional arenas.

What are your personal ambitions within the industry?

My ambition in my current job is to help create a new standard for working both onboard and onshore when it comes to digitizing vessels. On a personal level, I hope to be travelling a lot and getting more face-to-face time with clients and coworkers. I am always open for moving abroad.

In addition to my work, I am also studying and aim to have an MBA besides my MSc Marine Technology within the next five years.

Besides these things, I have one ambition that I always say to myself: My ambition is to be a leader that creates opportunities for others to shine.

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