Indian Transport & Logistics

Seafarer wage rates set to increase: Drewry

“Sustained fleet growth will lead to highest shortfall of officers to crew the world's merchant fleet by 2027.”

Seafarer wage rates set to increase: Drewry

Seafarer wage rates are set to increase in the face of worsening officer supply/demand imbalance, according to the latest Manning Annual Review and Forecast report published by global shipping consultancy Drewry.

"Sustained fleet growth will lead to the highest shortfall of officers to crew the world's merchant fleet in over a decade by 2027 with important implications for both hiring and future manning cost inflation," says the report.

The current officer supply shortfall is estimated to equate to around 5 percent of the global pool, which is broadly manageable in practical terms for vessel operators. "But there is heightened risk with regard to the Russia/Ukraine conflict potentially further limiting the supply of a large number of officers. Looking ahead to 2027, the supply/demand gap is expected to widen to a deficit equating to over 8 percent of the global officer pool. This is despite a slight anticipated uptick in the rate of growth in supply as training rates increase now that Covid restrictions are much less significant. While ratings supply has also been slowing, this poses less concern to employers as it remains broadly elastic to increases in demand as the global fleet expands."

"Recruiting and retaining quality officers with experience on sophisticated vessel types is likely to be the first pressure point in a tightening supply pool," says Rhett Harris, Head of manning research, Drewry. "Employers need to ensure that a career at sea is an attractive career option for ambitious and well-educated people."

Worldwide consumer price inflation is forecast to be over 7 percent in 2022 before falling back to around 3 percent for the forecast period to 2027. So, seafarer wage rates are expected to increase by around 2.5 percent each year, in average terms, from around 1.5 percent in 2022. There will however, be increased volatility by rank, nationality and vessel type outside of these averages, the report said.

"Accelerating manning costs are being driven by inflationary macroeconomic pressures and rising officer shortfall," says Harris. "Together with higher insurance and supply chain costs, these pressures will further fuel higher vessel operating costs over the medium term."

United Nations Conference on Trade And Development (UNCTAD), along with the International Labour Organization (ILO), International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), had called upon stakeholders to take action to support the world's 1.9 million seafarers from being unduly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and associated restrictions.

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