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DELTA-S is for those seeking:

The transportation industry, is traditionally expected by shippers to readily adapt to market capacity requirements. The maritime industry especially, has traditionally suffered from dynamic changes in demand, where those having the most resilient systems in place survive over time. Differentiation strategies have been applied by various operators via expanding their business portfolios in niche markets achieving higher margins for a period of time. These strategies are aligned with business models applying cost based and asset play strategies, with the latter taking advantage of the maritime cycles. Nevertheless, the modern dynamic business environment, where shipper supply chains are rather extended and rely on reliable transportation, demand for a change in the business philosophy and models the maritime industry applies. In this new model, relationships with customers and suppliers along with human capital development and available technology are key to its success.

Given the fact that limited academic work exists on the business models shipping management companies follow, the present effort aims at furthering existing research on such models to achieve the next competitive advantage. This effort, is based on three main pillars namely; strategic direction of the company, human resource development and digital business capabilities. This work envisions to conceptualize and develop an enriched Business Model for the industry based on future needs and in parallel identify employee skills and other resources needed for its success. This new knowledge is expected to assist the Greek Shipping Industry to remain competitive in the global business environment and the Greek maritime cluster to increase its attractiveness through the new digital mind-set. Finally, the identification and development of digital tools and skills for the enforcement of the local work force will create new job opportunities and facilitate the provision of services of the highest calibre.

DELTA-S aspires to create knowledge useful for shipping management companies, which will increase their internal integration and external adaptation, assisting them to remain competitive in the dynamic digital global business environment. The Greek maritime cluster is expected to increase its attractiveness through the new digital mind-set resulting in new business opportunities and creation of highly skilled jobs.

The new business environment increases the need for the maritime industry to shift from the traditional model of selling capacity to a model, which will offer higher value to the users. Until today capacity is dealt as a commodity and like any commodity when demand is high revenues increase and vice-versa. The fact that demand dynamics move at a much faster pace compared to those of supply, makes the industry vulnerable to revenue fluctuations from an operating perspective (Stopford, 1997). The changes in the external environment bring into fore factors not considered as important under the existing business paradigms. Enriching these business models, especially for those companies active in the traditional bulk shipping markets, via introducing an Enriched Business Paradigm, which will take into account several of the factors that are currently neglected, is the challenge for the DELTA-S. These factors are grouped under the below three pillar (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Next Competitive Advantage Pillars


Source: Authors

DELTA-S goal will be achieved via the accomplishment of goals among the many:

  • Analysis of the effects of technological innovations, methodologies and tools, in the organization of shipping companies both ashore and on-board ships.
  • Analysis of the aforementioned in the supply chain context and in the role of shipping companies within it.
  • Analysis of the role human resources, on-board and ashore, and the skills and knowledge needed for supporting the companies’ strategic direction in the new competitive landscape.
  • Enrich the knowledge on shipping companies’ operations and the way these need to support business strategies.

The aforementioned will be achieved via a number of objectives with actionable results, which are expected to have a spill over effect. Among the results are:

  • The project will be implemented in two pillars, each one leading to a PhD thesis.
    • The first pillar will focus on the conceptualization and development of resilient Business Models based on the future needs of the industry.
    • The second pillar will examine the management of human resources in need to serve the new enriched business models.
  • Publications presented in international conferences and published in high quality academic journals will be used for the dissemination of this work.
  • Workshops for the dissemination of the results at academic and industry level.
  • Development of stand-alone methodologies and tools.

For Academia

The present research aims at furthering existing state of the work related to the competitive advantage of the maritime industry. So far models and frameworks encapsulated in various studies take a single-dimension approach focusing on traditional management tools and techniques. With the use of modern available technology tools, this work aims at shedding light to an alternative and differentiated way of thinking with actionable insights when it comes to human capital development and business models leading to effective decision making. Via a number of publications to conferences and academic journals the results will be disseminated to academia.  

For Industry

The outcome of this work aims at providing valuable insights on how the industry and more specifically shipping management companies should operate under a more than ever dynamic environment where data acquisition, quality and analysis are key to the next competitive advantage. With the development of methodologies in relation to problem solving and software tools for swift decision making at strategic and business level industry players of the maritime cluster will be facilitated in improving productivity and competitiveness levels. Greek Shipping Management Companies will be at the focus of this research and is expected to be the main beneficiaries of the findings.

For Society

Improving the Greek maritime cluster competitiveness, via the development of skilful work force and the existence or creation of new competitive organizations, acts as an enabler to the community and economy. The new knowledge created via this work will assist in improving Greek-owned shipping companies’ abilities to adjust and improve their competitiveness. This will contribute to increasing further the attractiveness of the Greek maritime cluster globally creating new job and business opportunities for people and organizations.   

DELTA-S Research Team