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  November 1st, 2023 | Written by

Navigating a New Course: From Seafaring to Supply Chain Management

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In January 2020, as I neared the end of my second contract as a Navigational Officer on a ship, I was filled with joy at the prospect of returning home in just a month. The anticipation of attending my sister’s wedding made this homecoming more special. Flight tickets were in hand, and I was all set to embark on a long-awaited journey. Little did I know that my happiness would be short-lived, as an unexpected email from the local agent changed the course of my plans. The news was alarming – a new and mysterious disease had emerged, prompting local lockdowns. In the midst of uncertainty, my fellow crew members and I found ourselves stranded onboard for an additional two months. It was a difficult time, and missing my sister’s wedding was a painful sacrifice. But this period also marked a significant turning point in my life.

As the world grappled with the growing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it became evident that essential sectors like trade, commerce, and shipping could not come to a halt. Seafarers, once behind-the-scenes contributors, were now at the forefront, ensuring that goods continued to flow, and global economies stayed afloat. I joined my third ship with a sense of pride, knowing that I was playing a crucial role in maintaining the global supply chain. It was during this time that I began to take a keen interest in the intricate workings of the shipping industry, especially the commercial and strategic aspects that supported it. I delved into understanding the logistics, trade dynamics, and the technology behind shipping that ensured goods reached their destinations efficiently. With each voyage, my fascination with the supply chain grew.

Upon completing my tenure on the third ship, I set my sights on obtaining my 2nd Navigational Officer license, certified by the Ministry of Shipping. The promotion was gratifying, but my heart remained in the world of supply chain analytics and optimization. This realization led me to make a pivotal decision.

I embarked on a journey beyond the seas by preparing for the GRE and TOEFL exams, achieving commendable scores. The culmination of my efforts came with an acceptance letter from the prestigious University of Washington’s Foster School of Business for their MS in Supply Chain Management program. This was a dream come true, as it offered me the opportunity to blend my extensive maritime experience with the expertise of seasoned professors and gain profound knowledge in supply chain management. As a seasoned Merchant Naval Officer with a passion for data analytics and supply chain optimization, I could bring a unique blend of maritime expertise and analytical prowess to the world of logistics and operations. Throughout my career at sea, I honed my skills in voyage coordination, vessel performance monitoring, and navigating complex trade routes for crude oil, clean petroleum products, and chemicals. My extensive experience in real-time vessel tracking and optimizing passage time through predictive tools has not only ensured smooth operations but also resulted in significant cost savings for charterers. Furthermore, I have excelled in negotiating and appointing port agents, handling cargo documentation, and enforcing rigorous safety procedures during cargo operations, all while adhering to diverse international maritime regulations. 

Now, as I transition into the dynamic world of data analytics and supply chain, I am eager to apply my analytical mindset, problem-solving skills, and keen attention to detail to drive informed decision-making and optimize supply chain processes. I am excited to contribute my maritime background, coupled with my passion for data-driven insights, to drive innovation and efficiency in this new domain. My journey from the high seas to the corridors of academia has been transformative, and I am eager to continue exploring uncharted waters in the world of supply chain management. The synergy between my maritime experience and the insights gained from my academic pursuits promises to yield a compelling blend of skills that can make a significant impact in the world of global logistics and supply chain.