Shipping firms all over the world are offering their workers bonuses that equal up to three years’ salary to attract and retain talent in an industry that’s notorious for labour code violations, months of being away from one’s family, and even high rates of suicide.
A well-known Chinese shipping enterprise, COSCO Shipping, presented workers with year-end bonuses of about 30 times their monthly salary, Chinese Media group Caixin Global informed. Similarly, a Taiwanese shipping company named Evergreen Marine handed out bonuses 40 times workers’ monthly pay. On the other hand, Wan Hai offered bonuses worth salary of a full year or almost $36,093.
In 2021, cargo carriers all over the world were estimated to have generated a record $150 billion as profit. The sudden boom in online shopping and resulting supply-chain crisis during the ongoing pandemic has made the maritime industry a lucrative sector. Shipping backlogs have permitted maritime enterprises to boost rates from $2,000 to as high as $20,000 for 40-foot shipping containers over the last two years.
Even though record profits were observed, global carriers encounter challenges when it comes to retaining workers. On Wednesday, the annual Seafarers Happiness Index discovered that seamen’s unhappiness levels reached an all-time low last year. Many seafarers who were over the age of 35 years did not have intentions to return to the sea.
In November, Wah Kwong Maritime Transport has reported that they were facing difficulties in staffing vessels due to application and flagging retention rates.
Maritime has been an appealing industry, particularly for those who belong to relatively poorer countries. Seafaring represents a golden opportunity to make up to 10 times the average income in the Philippines and other nations. But, the ongoing pandemic may have altered the industry for the worse as sailors had to wait for months outside ports that were backlogged. Besides, stringent quarantine measures had also stranded more than 200,000 seafarers.
Last fall, the International Chamber of Shipping or ICS had warned leaders worldwide of the ill-treatment of seafarers during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has posed a great risk to the global supply chain.