We are indeed living in extraordinary circumstances, that few of us/if any could have imagined only a few months ago. The prevailing situation has changed our way of living, thinking and working fundamentally, at least for the moment being, but I do predict that, regardless of for how long the pandemic and the restrictions related hereto may last, some of the new habits we have been forced to adapt to will at least to some extent, affect our way of working permanently.
A majority of all white-collar workers are currently working remotely, and this is also what we have been practicing in Meriaura for a couple of weeks already. Although I personally have had a positive attitude towards working from home every now and then, a situation where practically the hole team is physically separated from each other was a jump out from the comfort zone into the unknown.
So far, I can only be impressed on the entire organization’s ability to adapt to the situation, where working from home has become the new normal. The existing tools for online working and the outstanding capacity of the communications network have been impressing, and I guess I am not the only one who has been wondering why we have not utilized these possibilities to a higher extent earlier.  Already a few years ago we also invested in a software, Fleetrange, where all our vessels’ ongoing and upcoming voyages are handled. Thus, Chartering-, Operations-, Crewing and Technical departments, all the time have access to the up-to-date situation for the entire fleet, regardless of where the crew is located.  Needless to say, that the traditional whiteboard would not have done the trick under these circumstances.
In terms of customer service and communication, we do our best to keep up business as usual. One thing to keep in mind, when calling us is to use the mobile numbers only. Our contact dets including the mobile numbers can be found on our website, www. meriaura.fi.
Regardless of how well the office work is handled, the most critical part of our service can´t be made virtually. Without working Vessels and port operations no cargo will reach its destination. Despite the prevailing restrictions and shutdowns of many activities, sea transports as a critical part of the logistic chain, must be secured. Our vessels are mostly transporting goods that are crucial raw-materials or components for producing goods needed in everyday life, such as food- and energy production. As many of our customers are facing hard times, our mission is to secure that the burden is not getting heavier due to disorders in the logistics. Despite the exceptional times, our entire fleet is up and running and there to serve both bulk and project customers.
The safety of the crew has always been a high priority, but in this situation extra measures are taken to minimize the infection risk. As an example, no outsiders are allowed to enter the vessel during port calls, crewmembers do not enter the shore side unless for mandatory reasons, crew changes are planned and carried out based on where it is safest to do and protective equipment such as face-masks and hand-disinfection liquid is being supplied to the vessels.
Seafarers, as well as other professionals in the logistic chain, are doing an extremely valuable job in order to keep the wheels rolling although they are rolling a bit slower right now. Unfortunately, no one can predict for how long this extraordinary situation will last and what will happen next, but we are fortune enough to work in an industry that is vital for the whole society and will thus survive this crisis. My sincere hope is that we will soon be able to revert to more normal situation, but very likely the ”new normal” will look a bit different.
 Take care and stay safe.
Beppe Rosin