Welcome to Ocean Insights – bite sized interviews with the thought leaders, innovators and business people seeking to realise the huge potential of the ocean space.
Discover their unique vision of the road ahead
This week we get insights from Matthew Duke, Group CEO, Grieg Star.
Dive in and see what you discover.
Ocean Insights #2
Matthew Duke, Group CEO, Grieg Star
What do you see as the greatest opportunity for the ocean industries over the next decade?
The oceans cover 71% of our planet’s surface, but humankind has explored only 5% of them. If we can’t find great opportunities in that, I don’t know where we should look. For shipping, our challenges offer enormous potential. They force us to take action where we have hesitated; to dismiss old truths and envision new ways of operating. Those changes are the opportunities. They are typically related to Digitalisation, Decarbonisation and Decentralisation. I believe these will lead to both growth and new opportunities for employment from shore. For example, experts with seafaring and technology expertise that can monitor floating assets from a land control centre, contributing to lowered carbon emissions (OPEX), improved safety and higher vessel utilisation.
What do you regard as the greatest challenge?
We have two main challenges: One is the ignorance regarding how grave the situation is for our business and the planet. Too many people choose to be blind to the world’s problems. It is worrying for world trade to be in a period of protectionism. It affects both the volume of cargoes to be shipped but also works against an environment of collaboration and partnership that is needed to make the big changes. The second is to ensure competitive access to capital. We need to make a lot of changes, some of these will be significant long term bets, but we do not have the financial strength or suitable incentives to do them all alone.
What do you see as the unique strength of your business, and how will it help you succeed?
We are lucky to have owners, a board of Directors, and a team of employees all very much focused on creating a sustainable business. We have a saying in our organisation: “We are going to have fun, make money and behave responsibly.” To have that sentiment permeating within the organisation will help us make the right choices and develop our business to be a success in the future as well. We also have a very long term horizon from the owners. They have proven time and time again that they are willing to invest in new ideas and opportunities to build new revenue streams and deliver on our purpose. I am, for example, particularly impressed with Grieg Green. They have led the industry toward sustainable ship recycling. And they have built a sustainable business model around their expertise, passion and drive to make a difference.
What key skills are you looking for in the next generation of industry professionals and how are you working to attract new talent?
In an ever-changing world, the ability to cope with change and to develop according to it is vital. If our employees don’t have that ability, they will not be able to stay for long. That is why we use SDG no 4 in our company strategy: we need to make sure our employees continue to learn and develop. I am also quite sure that a life long curiosity is essential for all of us to remain valuable in the future. Our education and experience create a platform for us to stay hungry and to learn more. Curiosity is a mindset that is essential for Grieg Star to succeed in our mission to develop profitable and sustainable maritime solutions.
We believe that people working for us should share our values. So we must make sure those values are well known to exceptional talents. That means speaking often and clearly about what matters to us. For example, recently I was delighted to be invited to speak at Maritime Bergen‘s event for female students wishing to enter shipping. We have to be present at the right forums to engage and share our thoughts – but crucially listen to the expectations and hopes of the next generation. Their voices matter deeply to me.
What are you most looking forward to at Nor-Shipping 2021?
To me, an essential part of Nor-Shipping is the possibility to meet talented people and listen to brilliant minds. I am sure that there will be ample opportunity for that in 2021 as well.
What three words sum up your vision for the future?
Healthy business through: “Sustainability, curiosity & diversity.”
Start your own insightful conversation with Nor-Shipping 2021, Your Arena for Ocean Solutions.Nor-Shipping 2021 takes place in Oslo and Lillestrøm, 1-4 June 2021. Find out more at nor-shipping.com