Claudio Bozzo of Mediterranean Shipping Company To Receive Connie Award
The Containerisation & Intermodal Institute (CII) will present the 2014 Connie Award to Claudio Bozzo, President and CEO of Mediterranean Shipping Company (USA), for his leadership in developing his company into one of the largest and successful container shipping ocean carriers.
In addition, a Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Joseph Bonney, Senior Editor of the Journal of Commerce, for his dedication to journalism excellence in covering the maritime industry for more than 30 years.
The Connie Luncheon will be held 8 December at the Metropolitan Room at the Newark Club.
Michael DiVirgilio, President of CII said: "Since being assigned to lead MSC in to the United States, Claudio Bozzo has been instrumental in guiding the carrier as it expanded substantially to become one of the world's top shipping companies.
"We recognize MSC's ability to position itself to compete globally in the 21st century with investments in ports and other support industries that impact our business."
In 1994, Bozzo joined MSC in New York City as a clerk in the intermodal department. From there, he moved up the ranks and managed almost all the departments at the company. It was in 2005 that he was appointed President and CEO and has been in that position since.
Under Bozzo's leadership, MSC now employs 1,200 people in the US alone. MSC is now the second largest steamship line in the world and the largest carrier of containerised cargo in the US. The company now also operates one of the fastest growing cruise ship companies in the world.
The recipient of many industry awards, Mr. Bozzo is an active leader in the Italian community, serving as the President of the Italian American Chamber of Commerce, President of all Italian Chambers in the NAFTA Area, and President of the European Chamber of Commerce.
In addition to the Connie Award, CII will carry out its industry education mission by presenting scholarships to university students and maritime academy cadets. This includes awarding the Thomas B.
Crowley Memorial Scholarships to midshipmen at the US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, NY and other monetary awards to students studying for a career in the logistics industry at area schools. Companies may opt to sponsor named scholarships for as little as $1000. Under the auspices of CII, more than $550,000 has been awarded since 1992.
Driver shortages: Why the industry needs to be worried
While driver shortages are a global problem, with a recent survey from the International Road Transport Union suggesting that driver shortages are expected to increase by 25% year-on-year across its 23 member countries, the issue has very much made itself felt for UK businesses in recent weeks.
A perfect storm of factors, which many within the industry have been wary of, and warning about, for months, have led to a situation wherein businesses are suddenly facing significant difficulties around transporting goods to shelves on time, as well as inflated operating costs for doing so.
What’s more, the public may also see price rises as a result due to demand outmatching supply for certain product lines, which in turn brings with it the risk of customer dissatisfaction and a hit to brand and stakeholder reputation. Given that this price inflation has been speculated to hit in October, when the extended grace period on Brexit customs checks comes to an end, the worst may be yet to come.
"Steps must be taken to make a career in the industry a more attractive proposition for younger drivers, which will require a joint effort from government, industry bodies, and the sector as a whole"
That said, we have already been hearing reports of service interruption due to lack of driver availability, meaning that volumes aren’t being transported, or delivered, to required schedules and lead times. A real-world example of this occurred on the weekend of 4-6 June with convenience retailer Nisa, with deliveries to Nisa outlets across the UK affected by driver shortages to its logistics provider DHL.
But where has this skills shortage stemmed from?
Supply is the primary issue. Specifically, the number of available EU drivers has decreased by up to 15,000 drivers due to Brexit alone, and this has been further exacerbated by drivers returning to their home country during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as changes to foreign exchange rates making UK a less desirable place to live and work. This, alongside the recent need to manage IR35 tax changes, has also led to significant inflation in driver and transport costs.
COVID-19 complications have also meant that there have been no HGV driver tests over the past year, meaning the expected 6,000-7,000 new drivers over the past year have not appeared. With the return of the hospitality sector we understand that this is a significant challenge with, for instance, order delivery lead times being extended.
It is little surprise, therefore, that the Road Haulage Association (RHA) earlier this month became the latest in a long line of industry spokespeople to write to the government about the driver shortage for trucks. The letter echoed the view held by much of the industry, that the cause of this issue is both multi-faceted and, at least in some aspects, long-standing.
So, many in the industry are in agreement as to the driving factors behind this crisis. But what can be done?
Simply enough, outside of businesses completely reorganising their supply chain network, external support is needed. In the short-term, the government should consider providing the industry with financial aid, and this can also be supported more widely with legislative change.
Specifically, immigration policy could be updated to place drivers on the shortage occupations list, which would go some way towards easing the burden created by foreign drivers returning to their home countries. Looking elsewhere, government should also look for ways to increase the availability of HGV driver tests after the blockage created by the coronavirus lockdowns.
Looking more long-term, steps must be taken to make a career in the industry a more attractive proposition for younger drivers, which will require a joint effort from government, industry bodies, and the sector as a whole. As it stands, multiple sources suggest that the average age of truck drivers in the UK is 48, with only one in every hundred drivers under the age of 25. We must therefore do more to increase the talent pipeline coming into the industry if we are to offset more significant skills shortages further down the line.
On the back of a turbulent year for the supply chain industry, it has become increasingly clear that the long-foretold shortage of drivers is now having a tangible and, in places, crippling effect on supply chains.
Drivers, and the wider supply chain industry, have rightly been recognised for the seismic role they played in keeping the nation moving and fed over the past year under unprecedented strain. If this level of service is to continue, we must now see Government answer calls to provide the support the sector needs, and work hand-in-hand with the industry to find a solution. If we do not see concrete action to this effect soon, we are likely to be in for a turbulent few months.
Rob Wright is executive director at SCALA, a leading provider of management services for the supply chain and logistics sector