Last updated: 25.03.14

Online learning leads to greater efficiency for shipping firm

A German shipping firm is looking to deploy digital learning resources in a bid to ensure that its staff are doing everything they can to maximise energy efficiency and, subsequently, fuel and financial savings.

ER Schiffahrt hopes that the e-learning drive will enable it to benefit from significant efficiency savings right across its operations by training captains and chief engineers of all of its 125 container ships, bulk carriers and offshore ships how to operate them in the best possible way.

Training modules focus on a variety of different factors contributing to overall energy efficiency, including hydrodynamics, propulsion, main engine operation and auxiliary power usage. 

The company's ships and carriers are deployed by shipping countries around the world, as well as contributing in a very significant way to the offshore industry. The group is hopeful that its efficiency drive will give its vessels a noticeable advantage over the competition.

This highlights the dual benefits of e-learning; a fact that a growing number of businesses are now accepting. And this fact is that upskilling your staff is not only in their interest. In fact, it is a great way to meet long-term company objectives that require an engaged and thoughtful workforce.

Education is the first step in changing any company culture. ER Schiffahrt and the other companies turning to digital resources hosted online - in order to encourage new ways of thinking and an acceptance of novel processes among their staff - will find themselves in a position where staff have the insight required for such a cultural sea change to be undertaken in an effective way.

Efficiency is no longer an optional consideration for firms, particularly those operating in sectors such as transport where ever more stringent emissions caps are being introduced across the EU and the US in a bid to diminish the industry's contribution to climate change.

Increasingly, those working smarter will be more successful than those working hardest. And so it is that the shipping firm is targeting this learning towards key staff who will then be responsible for disseminating it across the rest of its workforce.

"Our captains and chief engineers are the main target group for this e-learning course," says Ronald Schnitter, director of fleet personnel at ER Schiffahrt. "Alongside the technical details discussed during the training, there are modules on teamwork and team development to improve communication on board that are very interesting for our crew."