Pirates drive attention to shipping industry and the need for innovation

As the situation with the Maersk ship and the pirates continues to unfold, it begs the question: how is the shipping industry evolving in order to keep pace with 21st century demands and expectations?

The piracy situation has brought forth a wave of niche businesses–maritime transportation security, piracy insurance, and others. These have been stood up very quickly in response to the unfortunate Maersk crisis. Sometimes it takes such a crisis to receive national and international media attention in order to help create a demand for change and for solutions to be designed that address critical challenges. But sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes all it takes is a passion for wanting to do things more efficiently, effectively, and designing a solution that addresses problems before they become major national and international issues.

Take Marine Healthcare Services (MHS), a crew medical services provider that created–and is leading–a niche market in the shipping industry. I had the privilege of speaking with its Chief Operating Officer, Lloyd Schwing, who said, “I have been immersed in the shipping industry and I know precisely how we can enhance the medical care for crew members, while reducing risk for the ship owners and P&I Club members.” Mr. Schwing’s pride in his work was audible to me as he spoke from Houston, TX, where MHS is based.

MHS is an innovative solution that helps protect the lives of thousands of crew members by bridging the gap between foreign vessels that come into U.S. ports, and the U.S. medical facilities and professionals. Often times there are language barriers, insurance issues, and numerous other challenges that delay medical treatment, or result in misdiagnosed ailments that at times have proven fatal to crew members. These issues are more prevalent than what we think. Why? Because it hasn’t yet garnered the national and international media attention–yet. And hopefully, with MHS at the helm, they never will.

Hats off to such innovative companies such as MHS that take it on themselves to create win-win-win solutions that result in saving lives and saving money.

Thoughts and prayers for a safe and peaceful resolution to the piracy situation.

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