GLENN DELVE, a Director at the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) said, "My 34 years with MSC have gone quickly, it has been an eventful journey and a great profession to be in."
At school his aptitude tests predicted him becoming a chartered accountant or a chemical engineer, but he wanted something different. His professional journey began in 1978, when he accepted a post as a management trainee in a shipping company. His natural aptitude for learning saw him complete several training courses in the field of shipping, which he said, "gave his career a good grounding".
MSC owns ships and is the second biggest shipping company in the world. The company has 510 vessels around the world, including several renowned cruise liners. Delve says that since he started working at MSC, the company has grown from 15 people and 20 ships to where they are now.
Being part of the MSC journey has provided him with many opportunities to continue to learn as, "No day is ever the same". Since the company has grown, new divisions have been added, which have included: ships agency, container depots, ship tracking and repair. "Each division has had learning phases and challenges, which has made the business exciting," he said. "We have a huge team of 1300 people around the country that assist our MD, our chairman and myself to achieve the company's goals."
As national commercial director, Delve's primary responsibility is to fill the cargo ships, with both import and export goods from and to South Africa. "I get involved in everything; operations, logistics, and solutions. It's a very exciting and challenging position."
His journey with the company has ensured that his career has had many highlights, not the least was his appointment as a director of MSC in 2006. In addition, he said, "Being able to conclude a commercial agreement is a highlight on every occasion; each circumstance is different and has different requirements. Over the years, we have had to negotiate complex multinational contracts. Each takes a lot of time and it is very rewarding to see the conclusion."
Delve added, "The majority of the many companies who were approached as potential clients over thirty years ago are still shipping with us today. Building long mature relationships with our clients has been heart-warming. This has been achieved through trust, empathy and transparency."
Joining an Italian family owned business has had many advantages. Delve says that he has enjoyed his long working relationship with the Chief Executive Officer Captain Salvatore Sarno and MSC founder Chairman Gianluigi Aponte. He said, "The company has always treated its employees not only as assets but as family members. This philosophy is apparent in that the average length of employment within the company is over 20 years. In addition, during times of economic downturn, no employees have been retrenched, which is a very different response to most of our opposition shipping companies."
For young people embarking on a shipping career, Delve has this advice, "Work hard and the rewards will be there". However, he said, "It is not an industry for the faint hearted." He added that it is also important to work your way up from the bottom so that you have a good understanding of the different aspects of the shipping industry. His advice to anyone wanting to follow in his footsteps is "Not to lose focus and don't lose sight of other people".
Delve says life today is challenging as there is a lot to keep on top of and it's more difficult now to find time for the things you used to do in the past. However, out of office hours, he participates in varied activities, and "if it involves water even better". He enjoys going to gym and playing squash as well. He also still finds time to be outdoors and especially to be in the bush. His parting words are to "Just love life, work hard and play hard!"