Editorial / 05 Nov 2023

Reputation, a bellwether for reliability

by Nadia El-Basha, Sales Manager, GAC Marine Logistics (GML) Greece

Warren Buffet once said “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it”. That is particularly true in the maritime industry, which is highly dependent on the smooth and efficient flow of spare parts and equipment to ensure uninterrupted operation of vessels and their cargoes.

Ironically, global shipping is a small world. The actions of a company reverberate through the industry, significantly impacting its reputation among ship owners, charterers, managers, indeed everyone in the supply chain who want reputable partners to help them meet their goals.

Nadia El Basha

Since the 1950s, GAC has been built on a solid reputation. Now present in over 50 countries at more than 300 strategically located offices and ports, the Group’s good name remains a critical element of our offerings to customers – whether they have worked with us for decades or are new contacts seeking a local and knowledgeable presence in emerging markets.

Navigating the seas of success
Choosing the right partner can help navigate the seas of success. It can have a significant impact on the efficiency, cost-effectiveness and success of your fleet’s performance and operations – especially when a vessel experiences engine failure and urgently needs spare parts to avoid potential delays and costly downtime at sea.

Prop as breakbulk cargo on container ship

GAC Marine Logistics’ ship spares forwarding and onboard delivery service draws on our Group’s expertise, experience, resources and reach in both shipping and logistics to provide an integrated service when you most need it.

A thorough knowledge of the available options and flexible problem-solving skills are key.

For instance, when a vessel suffered engine failure in Houston in May this year, the valves it urgently needed had to be sourced from the other side of the world in Japan. Undeterred by the challenges, our local agent hand carried the parts and delivered them onboard the very same day.

In another case in the past month, a ship was in need of key spares when it was left unable to sail from Port Toledo in Ohio. We shipped the items from Athens by air to New York, and once again our local partner arranged same day delivery.

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. Every shipping company is different, with varying trade routes, operational preferences, budgets and so on.

In shipping, emergencies can arise at any place and time. Ensuring that your forwarder can adapt to emergency action plans promptly and effectively is fundamental. They should be able to develop comprehensive contingency plans for various scenarios including equipment failures, delays and natural disasters, and be able to identify alternative shipping methods and routes to bypass troubled regions or situations.

A good ship spares provider can significantly impact the efficiency, cost-effectiveness and success of your fleet’s performance and maritime operations by ensuring your vessel receives the necessary parts quickly and effectively so that it can set sail on its next voyage.

Informed decision-making
To make informed decisions about the partners they choose to work with, shipowners should keep five key concerns in mind. And it is no coincidence that GAC is a leading in all five.

  • Cost clarity: Know what you are paying for and aim for equilibrium of cost and quality. Every shipment is unique in terms of transport, carrier, routing, weather, timings and local conditions. That’s why you should always seek detailed quotations and ensure the pricing aligns with your budget to avoid unexpected costs or hidden fees.

  • Risk mitigation: It’s the very nature of our business that things can go wrong. When you work with a partner with comprehensive, tried and tested contingency plans to address the risks, any potential disruption can be avoided or at least minimised. This is particularly the case when dealing with custom-related documentation.

  • Compliance: Globally, regionally and locally, shipping has to comply with an ever-increasing range of regulations related to fuel, the environment, crew welfare and more. Further, customs procedures can be complex and confusing with different requirements at each location. Having on-the-ground presence with local knowledge can help ensure your shipments comply and pass through customs smoothly.

  • Customer support: Your relationship with any service provider is built on trust and confidence that provide the support you need, when and whenever you need it, to smoothen your day-to-day operations.

  • Sustainability: Sustainability can be a tough nut to crack, especially with increasingly tight budgets. In an emergency, the most sustainable choices may not be feasible. Sustainability is an ongoing process and you should always look to identify areas where improvements can be made.

We all rely on industry experts and local offices with local knowledge to achieve our goals. By building trust and relationships with dependable service providers, we can meet the challenges head-on, foster open communication and bolster decision-making.

For more than 60 years, GAC offices around the world have been providing industry-leading and bespoke shipping and logistics services, establishing an impressive track record as one of the industry’s most reputable players. And with new regulations, environmental pressures and squeezed budgets affecting ship owners, GAC represents a safe pair of hands to help guide you through.

This article is based on Nadia’s keynote speech at the International Maritime Purchasing Association (IMPA - The International Marine Purchasing Association) Athens Forum in September. GAC Marine Logistics has been a sponsor of the IMPA Athens Forum since 2017.

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