VIEWPOINT: The Bunker Industry Needs to Train More Junior Staff

by Tracy Palm, Group HR Director, Monjasa
Thursday May 2, 2024

Last month Can Ertem of ElbOil set out his personal view for Ship & Bunker on the bunker industry having too many junior traders on its payroll.

In response Tracy Palm, group HR director at Monjasa, now sets out the opposite position: the need for more traineeships to bring people into the industry.

I believe Can Ertem and Monjasa have a common interest – to ensure that the bunker industry has a balanced ecosystem where we have qualified people providing valuable service and feasible solutions to our stakeholders.

Unlike many other industries e.g. in software engineering, pharmaceutical, legal, where there are specific education institutions cultivating talent in respective fields, there is no specific education for traders within the bunker industry.

For an industry that is facing increasing volatility and complexity every day, there is an urgent need to cultivate a pipeline of talent to help tackle current and future challenges surrounding the unlocking of market access and advancement of global trade.

While there are no formal qualifications required for a trader, there is a strong set of skills required for a competent trader – general knowledge of shipping, fuel types (including low-carbon fuels), geography, business cultures,  geo-political and macro-economic developments that influence sanctions, credit, etc. Monjasa means personal business; this means that we need people who can develop meaningful relationships with their counterparts.

How do we find and cultivate competent traders?

From Monjasa's perspective, our solution is to onboard a solid team of global traders every year under our Monjasa Oil and Shipping Trainee (MOST) programme.

Instead of 'throwing young people to trading desks', we invest a great number of resources in laying a solid foundation before they start to trade.

This includes facilitating a thorough onboarding programme, an internal education facilitated by subject matter experts, a two-year shipping education with the Danish Shipping Academy, peer-to-peer training as well as rotation in two sister offices.

Our entire global organisation, both commercial and non-commercial colleagues are vested in the education of our junior colleagues, because we believe that they are the future of our industry.

If we want to become/remain our customer's choice and to challenge the status quo with our original solutions, we simply do not see any alternative than to focus on cultivating a solid pipeline and contributing to a healthy industry ecosystem.