Welcome to the Ocean Insights series – bite sized interviews with the thought leaders, innovators and business people seeking to realise the huge potential of the ocean space.
In this edition of the Ocean Insights we have spoken to Benedicte Teigen Gude, Senior Vice President HR and Communications, at the Wilhelmsen group, one of maritime’s biggest names.
Founded in 1861, the Wilhelmsen group, operates the largest maritime network on the planet, with over 2 200 locations worldwide. The Wilhelmsen group has close to 15,000 employees of which over 10,000 are seafarers, and is a long time supporter and regular participant at Nor-Shipping.
The Wilhelmsen group is consistently developing innovative and sustainable solutions, and they are taking an active role in shaping the maritime industry for the future. Below Benedicte Teigen Gude lets you discover Wilhelmsen’s vision of the road ahead.
Dive in and see what you discover.
What do you see as the greatest opportunity for the ocean industries over the next decade?
We don’t believe an app, or some new technology will substantially reduce the need for, or replace, global trade anytime soon. We believe in the positive benefits global trade can have for society – and we believe global trade will grow. But economic growth and increased global trade cannot happen at the expense of the environment or future generations’ needs.
Which is why our ambition for the Wilhelmsen group is to be at the forefront, enabling sustainable global trade. With the maritime industry playing a significant role in reaching some of the ambitious targets set for a sustainable future, we believe the wider ocean industries have enormous untapped potential and these opportunities will be key in ensuring the world embarks on a more sustainable path. In other words, the ocean industries are part of the solution and can contribute to develop completely new business models and solutions that will take us a big step towards realizing the sustainability goals set out.
What do you regard as the greatest challenge?
Irrespective of COVID-19’s lasting impact, humanity faces some of its biggest challenges. We have singled out three: Decarbonisation. Marine litter and pollution. Renewable energy. The targets set by us, the industry and the global community will require billions in investments and tonnes of dedication and hard work over the coming decades. Things will just not happen by themselves.
For the industry, I believe one of our biggest challenges is learning to cooperate and to accelerate. To use our resources in a smart way and to have the focus to really make big changes. No single person, company or government can solve these issues on their own. We need to collaborate across companies and industries, in the private and public sectors, established business alongside entrepreneurs, young talents together with experienced operators. We must work as one to have the “economy of scale” required to tackle the issues ahead of us. There is also a need for governmental regulations and not least access to capital to support the green shift. The various governmental, societal and commercial responses to COVID-19 have highlighted the challenge of individual responses to a common global threat. It has however led to unprecedented cooperation in our industry and others and a heighted sense of pragmatism to get things done the right way. Let’s not squander this experience, and instead, reinforce it as we tackle other global threats like climate change.
What do you see as the unique strength of your business and how will it help you succeed?
We have developed our in-depth expertise and experience over the past 159 years. With our competence, resources, ambitions and will I believe we have the best possible foundation to take the lead or be active in contributing to reaching many of the ambitious, global targets set for the next decades. By addressing the sustainability goals internally, our ambition is for our employees to have the right mindset to drive the change. Unfortunately, there are still many that do not walk the talk. Being present in 125 countries around the world, our organization should also be able to bring local expertise to some of these global challenges.
What key skills are you looking for in the next generation of industry professionals and how are you working to attract new talent?
We are looking for those that truly want to shape the maritime industry. Those that are willing to change. Those that are curious and continuously willing to adapt, try new business models and constantly look for smarter, greener, and more efficient solutions.
I also believe we need to actively source experience and competence from other industries, as this will be vital for our industry to accelerate.
Through our digital trainee programme, summer internships and our companies like RaaLabs and Massterly, we hope that young talent as well as everyone in our organisation worldwide see that we are investing in competence enabling us to deliver sustainable solutions to our industry.
What are you most looking forward to at Nor-Shipping 2021?
To meet and discuss the most relevant topics for the future with the talents, decision makers and senior executives in the industry to pave the way for tomorrow’s solutions. Hopefully, we can all commit to some long-term targets, together we can make a substantial difference in solving some of the industry’s and world’s pressing issues.
What three words sum up your vision for the future?
As simple as our purpose. There has never been a better time to reiterate this – enable sustainable global trade. In three words: Sustainable. Global. Trade.
Nor-Shipping 2021 – Your Arena for Ocean Solutions – takes place in Oslo and Lillestrøm, 1-4 June 2021. Find out more at www.nor-shipping.com