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Increased Focus By Stena Line On Equality and Inclusion

9th March 2019
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Linnea Berg, 2nd officer of the Stena Scandinavica which operates in Scandinavia between Sweden and Germany on the Göteborg-Kiel route. Linnea Berg, 2nd officer of the Stena Scandinavica which operates in Scandinavia between Sweden and Germany on the Göteborg-Kiel route. Photo: Stena

#ferries - On International Women’s Day yesterday, Stena Line launched a new sustainability focus area – Equality and Inclusion. This is part of the company’s increased commitment to creating a sustainable working environment and an important step on the journey towards becoming a leader in sustainable shipping.

The ferry operator is committed to maintaining and developing a sustainable working environment, free from harassment, where everyone is given equal opportunities regardless of age, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity or disability.

“At Stena Line we welcome everyone, whether you want to work here, travel with us or be one of our business partners. I am proud to announce that we are now increasing our focus on this important matter by adding another focus area to our sustainability strategy, says Ian Hampton, Chief People & Communications Officer at Stena Line.

A sustainability strategy is based on focus areas which are linked to the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development and directly related to the company’s business. Equality and inclusion will be the fifth focus area, complementing the existing four areas - Clean energy, Good health and well-being, Life below water and Responsible consumption. For each area there are ambitious targets established and developments will be closely monitored, with the ambition of becoming a leader in Sustainable shipping.

“For equality and inclusion, the long-term goals are set to a minimum of 30% female leaders by 2022 and a zero-vision in terms of harassment. The work has already started with two new company policies for anti-harassment and equal opportunities launched last year”, said Margareta Jensen Dickson, Head of People at Stena Line.

In 2018 Stena Line also signed the Maritime UK’s “Women in Maritime Pledge” committing to “building an employment culture that actively supports and celebrates gender diversity, at all levels, throughout our organisation, and our industry”.

Main initiatives 2019

During 2019 the company will be focusing on anti-harassment initiatives, improving recruitment systems and procedures, promoting maritime careers for both men and women - as well as engaging in the “Women in Maritime Charter”.

“We need to deliver on a number of ambitious but achievable goals. For example, identifying obstacles in relation to recruitment and progression for women, improving recruitment methods for “decoded” job applications as well as benchmarking and mapping policies supporting a family friendly workplace and work-life balance for all, said Margareta Jensen Dickson, Head of People at Stena Line.

Care for customers

Diversity in the workforce not only contributes to a better working environment, it also helps Stena Line to better understand and care for its customers.

“Like us, our customers are diverse and the more knowledgeable we get, the better we will become at fulfilling their needs and creating a great travel experience which shows that we care”, says Ian Hampton, Chief People & Communications Officer at Stena Line.

Published in Ferry
Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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