After six months in the office, he feels more a part of the shipping company and he has a greater understanding of how people work on land. Chief mate Martin Carlweitz thinks that more employees should try exchanging jobs.
Now he is back on the RoRo ship Transpulp. One thing he realized during his work as a load planner in the office was how much he enjoyed being at sea.
– It is fantastic being at sea. The work is varied and we have a good gang onboard. I didn’t feel bad working onshore, but I would rather work here, he says.
He is still happy that he took the job at the office that was advertised in the autumn and which lasted until March this year. It gave him a better insight into load planning for the ship, as well as valuable personal contacts onshore.
– These days I don’t feel bad about calling the office and asking stupid questions. I used to feel reluctant to do that.
Martin Carlweitz has worked with Transatlantic since 2000; first as a seaman and then as a mate. But despite many years’ service in the company he never really felt part of its overall operations until now.
– There is a them-and-us mentality which I think to some extent is connected with the information that comes to us on the ships. When you e-mail the office and it takes ages before you get a reply, you wonder what they are doing and it is easy to feel a little forgotten.
Even though he still thinks that the response time of the office could be shorter, he now understands better why answers sometimes take a while. He also knows that it is not necessarily due to nonchalance or lack of interest.
– I know how much they have to do at the office, where things are happening the whole time. And sometimes there is a person working flat-out on one task without telling other people what’s going on.
Christmas party together
Martin Carlweitz thinks that job exchange is a good way of creating a team feeling between the ships and the land offices. But he also feels that the shipping company is trying other ways of decreasing the mental distance between land and sea.
– These days they invite everybody to one big Christmas party, and things like that mean a lot. They are also trying to get better at communicating to the ships. When you are onboard you want to know what is happening at the shipping office and not just plan for your own ship, and if you do not yet clear information it is easy that rumours start spreading and people get worried.
During his time as a load planner, both for his own ship and two sister ships, Martin was able to contribute with a lot of knowledge thanks to the fact he had worked onboard. In the same way he now has an advantage after working for six months ashore.
– All of us who worked with load planning had worked at sea, but since I had been on those ships that I was responsible for planning it was a little easier. I knew the layout onboard exactly and what special solutions were possible.
– I know what all the preparatory work for load planning is like and I can do it myself without making it difficult. Even a load planner can have a bad day and miss things, and these days I can make changes without feeling that I risk offending anybody.