1) Chartering Desk - Owner
Liybov Bilas, NYK Bulkship Atlantic NV
Can you explain your company and what you do within it?
I work for NYK Bulkship Atlantic NV. NYK is a Japanese shipping company that has been in business since 1885. Today NYK is one of the leading global shipping companies with a presence in various aspects of transportation such as: cruise lines, liner, LNG, tanker and dry-bulk sectors. We have over 55,000 employees and offices worldwide.
As is the case for most people for whom maritime is not the family business I got into maritime by accident! I studied business as undergrad and when I was applying for universities one of my professors suggested Maritime School since they offer a “Transportation and Trade” degree. I thought I would study international business but ended up learning about rail, trucks, TEU, intermodals and Malcolm Maclean. After my first semester when I tried to escape and transfer to a business school no other school would accept the credits I had earned, so I decided to stay. It was the best decision I’ve ever made.
Can you walk us through your normal day?
It's really difficult to define a "typical" day..my day can start anywhere from 3 am to 9 am depending on how busy we are!
Basically, the main part of my day is information gathering and then using that information effectively. If I am trying to fix a vessel, the first thing I do is touch base with the vessel's agents, captain, and our operations team to see if there have been any changes in her schedule. At the same time I am checking the day's market reports to determine what has already happened in other parts of the world that may influence our position. I also reach out to our brokers as they know what's "really" going on that day in the market; what's open, what was fixed, etc.
When I have all of this information I can circulate my ship on the market, and make my calculations in search of the best available business. When I have found the right business, the next step is the negotiations...if the business fails I get to start all over again the next day. Of course that really means starting over since the market will likely have total changed overnight!
It can be exhausting at times, but also very rewarding. There is a lot of excitement, and don't forget how tightknit our part of the industry is...In 15 minutes I can speak with brokers, agents, and captains all over the world. Over the years many of these people have become true friends.
Ft. Schuyler University, Suny Maritime College
Do you have any advice for students looking to get into the shipping industry?
I suppose my advice would be to be patient and respectful. Shipping is huge global industry but the professional community is rather small, and everyone knows everyone. So remember that your word is your bond. In maritime, more than in any other industry, your reputation is your most valuable asset.
Name anyone in the industry that has influenced you throughout your career?
There are many people who influence me on a daily basis and I’m still learning. But the most influential person would be my boss and mentor, Patrick Brennan. By example he taught me when to listen, when to be firm, when to be patient and when it’s time to start fighting.
What NYC (or tri-state area) neighborhood do you call home?
What do you like to do during your off-time?
Travel, be with my family, watch my daughter play sports, walk my dog, hike, read books, learn new languages and support the world economy by chronically shopping in every country I visit.
What is your favorite(s) you can answer all or a few, whichever you prefer?
Book – one of the best books of 2014 that I read was “THE BOYS IN THE BOAT” by Daniel James Brown, great inspiring & motivating
TV shows – “Supernatural”, “Walking Dead”, “That 70th show” or anything else that you can watch on a plane
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