The health, safety and behaviour of our employees underlies every aspect of how we operate. They are driven by policies, procedures, a team culture and efforts to continually improve how we conduct ourselves in our business at sea and onshore. Providing healthy work conditions, a safe and supportive environment and opportunities to develop and advance within the Company are key to the well-being and fulfilment of our staff and the success of Pacific Basin.
As ship owners, our service reliability is enhanced by an innovative and comprehensive in-house technical ship management capability that assures the quality of our large fleet of owned ships and growing number of seafarers, while also driving our sector-leading safety and environmental performance.
Our experienced team of ship managers provide dependable shore-based support to our fleet so that our seafarers can manage our ships with a strong safety culture and meet the specific needs of our customers.
Our shore-based and ship-board teams work together to ensure operational readiness and service reliability of our ships at all times, as well as compliance with classification society and flag state rules, environmental regulations and all other local and international laws and regulations. Their combined efforts are key drivers of stakeholder satisfaction and our Pacific Basin brand value.
Our comprehensive technical ship management function covers:
We operate our own Pacific Basin crewing and training centres in Dalian, Manila and Hong Kong where our crew recruiting, training and management activities are based. Our pool of over 3,400 seafarers are mainly from China and the Philippines, and some of our officers and ratings are from Russia and Ukraine (FSU), Hong Kong and Bangladesh.
We believe that the right investment in our employees – both at sea and ashore – does much to increase safety, knowledge, productivity and contribution, and promote a deeper sense of belonging across our organisation. That investment in our employees and their engagement broadly addresses the following areas:
We put safety first at all times. Our Pacific Basin Management System provides clear policies and procedures for our ship and shore staff to follow and mechanisms for us to analyse our performance and facilitate improvement, with one main objective: Promoting and ensuring safety at sea and prevention of human injury or loss of life
Our HSEQ policy and our Pacific Basin Management System embody a number of broad actions designed to achieve this objective:
We constantly strive to enhance our safety culture with commitments from senior management ashore driving this safety mind-set across our organisation and fleet.
Our commitment to safety is manifested not only through our proactive Pacific Basin Management System, but also through innovative proprietary initiatives and significant investment in seafarer training at sea and ashore to standards exceeding mandatory requirements, resulting in safety performance metrics (KPIs) that are among the best in the industry.
Some of our established home-grown concepts and programmes that seek to maximise our crews’ engagement and risk mitigation and safety performance include:
We highlight five focus areas in our campaign to eradicate complacency across our fleet, including:
This campaign has been expanded to engage with our seafarers’ families through family newsletters and informal participation during our regular safety seminar dinners and through our family welfare officer in our recruitment centres for a more holistic and effective approach.
In 2017, we recorded near record low total injuries and injury frequency on our ships, most arising from relatively minor slips, trips, falls and crushing incidents.
We achieved our lowest ever lost time injuries frequency (LTIF) in 2017 which improved 13% year on year to 0.82. Our crew registered 14 such injuries in over 710,000 man days in the year.
Our total recordable case frequency (TRCF) increased 11% to 1.46 which remains low by industry standards. Overall, we have steadily reduced our TRCF by an average of 6% per year since 2004.
Our aim is to substantially eliminate our personal injury incidents and to improve on our lowest ever LTIF result of 0.82.
Our safety performance is driven by effective policies and procedures in our Pacific Basin Management System and a comprehensive programme of seafarer training and development at sea and ashore.
In 2017, we continued to reinforce our established safety programme with our campaign to target “Zero Lost Time Injuries”, involving enhanced pre-joining and on-board training, and monthly alerts to the fleet with reminders of injuries sustained on our ships. Our “Make Complacency History” campaign also reaches out to our seafarers’ families for a more holistic and effective approach.
We aim to achieve an inspection deficiency rate of less than 1.0 defects per inspection by maintaining our ships to a high standard, as assessed by external Port State Control (PSC) inspectors.
In 2017, our average deficiencies per inspection improved by 27% to 0.54.
78% of our Port State Control inspections found zero regulatory deficiencies (2016: 72%).
These results are among the best in the industry, especially considering the scale of our activity in the Far East where defects are typically raised in larger numbers.
For improved navigational performance, we continue to pursue an extensive engagement exercise which collects wide-ranging feedback from our ships’ officers and managers as well as company-specific Bridge Team Management training for all our navigating officers, which we introduced in 2013.
We encourage near-miss reporting which in 2017 accounted for 672 reports (2016: 783) through which officers and crew described safety incidents and near-misses, however minor, which serves as a valuable tool for the prevention of injury and loss.
In 2017, we won the following awards recognising our commitment to and performance in safety and related areas:
Our workplace safety, health and engagement metrics follow best practices as defined by the industry and our peers. Shipping is a highly regulated industry and Pacific Basin meets all minimum requirements and in some cases exceeds requirements determined by local, regional and industry mandates and customer expectations.
Our commitment to Safety is manifested through (a) a proactive Pacific Basin Management System, (b) innovative home-grown initiatives and significant investment in seafarer training at sea and ashore to standards exceeding mandatory requirements, and (c) KPIs that are among the best in the industry.
Our Pacific Basin Management System ashore and at sea conforms to the mandatory International Safety Management (ISM) Code. It is also certified by Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance (LRQA) to voluntary standards, including:
We believe that our investment in the development and training of our staff at sea and ashore drives engagement, motivation and retention of our staff and is key to maximising their safety and productivity.
We train our seafarers to standards equal to or exceeding those required by the International Maritime Organization’s International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (or STCW).
This significant investment we make in seafarer training at sea and ashore drives our safety and external inspection performance indicators which are consistently among the best in the industry.
Here are a number of training and development investments we make to ensure a class-leading safety culture, service delivery and workplace fulfilment:
Ashore, we make a concerted investment in staff training and leadership development at all levels of the organisation, which has resulted in enhanced productivity, engagement, loyalty and retention and a strong foundation for our succession planning. That investment ashore broadly takes the following forms:
The Company has a healthy budget for training and development of shore-based staff, of which typically more than half receive some form of external training each year provided by local trainers or leading business schools internationally.
Our recruitment and training of international graduate and other young recruits in recent years has armed our teams with keen, talented executives who are now demonstrating their value in our offices around the world. In 2017, 9 young staff members attended our structured three-month trainee programme in which trainees cycle through our various departments, travel on ships, visit dry-docks, spend time with our shipping agents, shipbrokers and customers, and receive an in-depth experience in all facets of dry bulk shipping.
Our labour standards, human rights practices and workplace conditions adhere to all conventions where our ships trade and our offices are located.
Our labour policies and minimum standards are determined with reference to the conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) – the United Nations agency that shapes policies to promote decent working conditions for seafarers and other workers.
These ILO conventions relating to seafarers have been consolidated into a single, coherent instrument – the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (“MLC”) – which has been ratified by China and the requirements of which have been largely incorporated in Hong Kong flag state legislation under Hong Kong CAP478 Merchant Shipping (Seafarers) and other ordinances. As such, the conventions are mandatory for us to follow in respect of our Hong Kongflagged dry bulk ships.
Where ILO conventions have not been ratified by our flag state, we voluntarily comply with or exceed the requirements of such conventions by way of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) with the International Transport Federation (“ITF”)-affiliated seafarer unions. Pacific Basin was actively involved in drafting the current Hong Kong flag state CBA which applies to all Hong Kong employers of seafarers under the ITF.
We modernised our ship communications with KVH’s mini-VSAT broadband service with enhanced data transfer to facilitate ship-to-shore crew training and support, and to enable our seafarers to stay in touch with family and friends.
The Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC) is an international agreement of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) which sets out seafarers’ rights to decent conditions of work.
More than 100 pages long, the MLC 2006 sets minimum requirements for nearly every aspect of working and living conditions for seafarers such as:
Our compliance with ILO conventions and CBA terms is audited by Port State Control inspections
Ashore, our offices adhere to all relevant local workplace health and safety and related codes, offering our employees a safe, comfortable and productive work environment. This includes good lighting and air conditions, and ergonomic workstations.
In May 2017, we relocated our group headquarters to a newly revitalised part of town about 15 minutes outside of Hong Kong’s Central business district, and took the opportunity to create a healthier and more practical and fulfilling office environment. Our office is bright, airy, colourful and informal, and staff have access to a number of casual spaces for collaborative work or just a quiet place to make phone calls, exercise or attend to personal matters.
We supply free fruit and regularly offer healthy snacks. We actively support colleagues who take on healthy physical challenges in the aid of charitable causes or simply to stay fit. Our new headquarters office in Hong Kong is surrounded by mountains, shoreline and sporting facilities that staff make use of to keep fit, and we encourage all our staff around the world to make the most of whatever nature and facilities are available to them for better health and fitness. We encourage a healthy balance between family life and work.
We keep our employees engaged through newsletters, information circulars, town hall meetings, an open-door policy, and multiple means of staying connected through a group-wide intranet, instant messaging and video conferencing systems
We take pride in the diversity of our staff – including the diversity of cultures and age that exists among our shore-based staff comprising executives of 27 nationalities.
The gender and age distribution of our shore-based workforce is well-balanced.
31% of our shore-based staff have worked for Pacific Basin for over 10 years, which is testament to the job fulfilment at Pacific Basin over a period of significant growth.
Our high officer and crew retention rate speaks volumes about the job fulfilment we offer our seafarers.
We reaffirm our longstanding commitment to providing a safe environment for all our staff free of discrimination and harassment on any grounds. We operate a zero tolerance policy towards sexual harassment in our workplace, and we investigate all allegations of sexual harassment promptly, discreetly and with respect.
In the pursuit of our vision, mission and objectives, we always seek to apply sound and internationally accepted business ethics and principles.
Our business principles cover a range of tenets and traits designed to maximise the trust, respect and friendship between the Company and its stakeholders, highlighting the fairness and responsibility with which we approach our business.
Our vision is to be a leading ship owner/operator in the dry bulk shipping space, and the first choice partner for customers and other stakeholders.
Our mission is to be the best in our field by continuously refining our business model, our service and our conduct in everything we do.
The guiding business principles that dictate our behaviours and actions:
Our Code of Conduct prohibits our staff from offering or accepting bribes or engaging in fraud, forgery, collusion, anti-competitive behaviour or other forms of corruption.
We require our staff to abide fully by local anti-corruption laws such as the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance under Hong Kong law for staff in our Hong Kong headquarters. Similar anti-corruption laws (such as the UK Bribery Act 2010) and expectations apply to all our staff around the world.
We provide anti-corruption seminars run by external trainers for our Hong Kong staff on a rotational basis.
We were not in 2017, are not currently and have never been involved in any legal cases regarding corrupt practices
We are committed to providing a workplace free of dishonest, illegal or discriminatory activities. As part of our efforts in this area, we have whistle-blowing procedures in place for seafarers, shore-based staff and external stakeholders to raise serious and genuine concerns, in confidence, following procedures that are published on our intranet (for our shore-based staff) and on our website (for external stakeholders).
We operate in highly competitive and fragmented markets and we do not collude with competitors or otherwise cooperate in a covert manner to gain unfair pricing advantage. The size and market share of our dry bulk fleet and the nature of our dry bulk freight activity are deemed not to breach competition regulations in any markets in which we are engaged.
Our ships operate globally and we engage in trades that comply with international laws and do not contravene international trade sanctions or relevant local or national laws.
Our customers are required not to ship illegal goods on our vessels, and our global chartering organisation follows the key rule of “knowing your customer and their business” which enhances our understanding of their cargo.
Our customers are mainly reputable, blue-chip organisations who we know well. For newer potential customers, we may seek advice on their background, verbal and written references, formal counterparty risk appraisals, and we check if they appear on US, UK, EU and UN sanction lists.
We also consider where voyages are from and to, and monitor the layers of sanctions prevailing around the world so as not to risk exposure to criminal penalties.
There are also safety nets that give us additional comfort that trades we engage in do not violate relevant laws. Importantly, banks do not provide letters of credit or finance to, or otherwise transact with, customers if the cargo or trade breach sanctions, thus preventing the customer from executing a freight contract with us. A second check arises when the cargo and/or freight invoice is payable, at which point banking systems automatically vet the countries and counterparts involved in the transaction.
Our Pacific Basin Management System manual requires that, in all but some exceptional circumstances, stores and spares for our fleet are purchased from approved suppliers who are vetted before approval and reviewed at regular intervals thereafter.
Our selection and continued support of suppliers is heavily influenced by the outcome of our reviews of their and their products’ performance affecting occupational health, safety, quality and the environment.
Examples of vetting criteria we require of our suppliers and subcontractors include, as appropriate:
In 2017, our list of vetted vendors numbered approximately 240, of which 130 were new suppliers and about 110 were existing suppliers re-evaluated during the year.
Similarly, we purchase bunker fuel only from reputable and reliable suppliers, most of whom we have long term relationships with. We vet our bunker suppliers at least annually checking their financial position through website searches and through our network of contacts and other resources in the bunker and shipping industry.
We source no more than 30% of our annual fuel needs from any single supplier. We sourced over 80% of our fuel from 10 major bunker suppliers in 2017. The remainder was sourced from about 17 smaller suppliers for spot bunkering in remote ports.
The history of our technical team stretches back well beyond the founding of Pacific Basin, as many of our technical management colleagues served at the venerable Jardine Ship Management which we acquired in 2000. Drawing on our technical team’s combined experience, a safety-first ethos and the prudent rules and guidelines enshrined in our Pacific Basin Management System, we are proud to be the stewards of best practices in technical, safety, quality and CSR management. We frequently receive industry recognition for our commitment to and performance in these areas, as well as other areas such as corporate governance and investor relations.
In 2017, we won top global and regional industry awards for safety, CSR and best shipping company overall, including:
Some notable other awards in recent years include: