Recruitment and Education

Life of a Shipping Company Executive

Life of a Shipping Company Executive
Ewelina Zgutka works with the international company d’Amico Shipping Group. Ewelina is working as a Global Cost Control executive in a fast paced, dynamic work environment based in Dublin. d’Amico Shipping Group is a leading Italian shipping company operating on a global scale.  With its core business focusing on the management and operation of dry cargo and tanker vessels, it also provides international shipping services.
How many years have you worked in the industry and what is your current role? 

I have worked in the maritime industry for over 15 years and am now working in global cost control with d’Amico Shipping Group.

What was your initial exposure to the industry?

I started off working on ships when I was 19 years old. I got a job as a stewardess on a DFDS Passenger ferry sailing between Poland, Germany and the UK. When I started in my employment initially, I got involved in a range of onboard day to day duties in the retail department and hospitality department aboard.  What I learned through my work was that no matter what, the ferry had to sail on time, every time. Our role was to provide customers with a reliable service on a scheduled route, so the crew were expected to pitch in at times and be hands on in order to deliver the service customers expected.

How did your maritime career evolve? 

When I was studying, there were good nautical schools in Poland for cadets and it was a popular education choice as it is considered a well paid job in Poland. I enjoyed the sea but I didn't want to be employed long term at sea. I thought that working on shore dealing from an office and operations side of things would be very interesting. I was told by cadet colleagues aboard about new courses that were on offer in their Naval Academy - Maritime Trade and Administration. It was a new course and sounded very interesting. I thought to myself that it is not as common as other subjects. There were a lot of people studying marketing, law and administration but I thought that there would be a demand for these maritime business skills together with sea experience.  I decided to enroll for the Maritime Trade and Administration course. 

My personal circumstances changed and I decided that I wanted to come ashore from working on the passenger ferries. This coincided with me and my family moving to Ireland. Once I moved I did some office administration jobs but always missed the experience I had working in the maritime industry. I had gained so much practical knowledge from working in shipping, I saw how the port worked, what operational aspects came into play for moving cargo and the entire port and shipping process really inspired me. I wanted to re-enter the industry so the moment I heard that there was a vacancy with a shipping company I was familiar with, I jumped at the chance of getting back into the industry.

Since gaining employment in am international shipping company I have also concentrated on furthering my education, I have completed the foundation course in Shipping through the Institute of Chartered of Shipbrokers Ireland and the Advanced Diploma. Since living in Ireland, I have decided to return to my business degree and study that part-time.  

What is the day to day work environment you experience today?

d’Amico Shipping Group operate operate two types of fleet - Tanker and Dry. We provide transport services on a worldwide scale to the major petroleum and trading companies. I manage and monitor all port costs for our fleet all around the world. I make sure all vessel port costs are correct and settled in a timely manner. My job is fast paced, and ever changing, I am in constant contact with my international colleagues and all of our ships agents.

What do you think are the main characteristics or skills needed for a person to succeed in the maritime industry?

I think that you have to be open to different cultures, if you enjoy working with a multinational group of people and personalities and really enjoy the experience of dealing with people from all around the world then shipping is for you, You need to be able to think on your feet and be comfortable with making swift and sound decisions. You need to think about details, to be able to analyze problems and fix them. Also, always remember your network of contacts because shipping is a person to person business.