PartnerSHIP: We are ten months or so into the pandemic. How do you see the passenger logistics market now?
Peter Brady: When the pandemic first hit, our focus for 4 to 6 weeks was almost exclusively on repatriating workers. The key problems revolved around securing flights: carriers were reducing their networks, then cancelling flights that were scheduled at short notice, and imposing severe capacity limitations. We also had the challenge of managing connections. Alongside these complications, we had to organise documentation, including visas, transit visas and re-entry documents. Then we had to deal with border closures and organising quarantine periods were required.
Ten months on, we still have much the same problems of network reductions and capacity limitations. In addition, there have been significant changes to the international airline structure. According to the analytics company OAG, one third of airline routes have been lost and over 14,000 city-pair connections have been abandoned, so it’s incredibly difficult routing people and getting flights.
In the marine vertical, there are additional complications surrounding port restrictions and closures. Crews rotating on and off vessels have had to be transferred directly between the airport and the vessel. With oil rigs and gas platforms, it’s not quite as difficult because a lot of companies have temporarily relocated crew into areas where the rigs or platforms are accessible. There are even cases of whole families being relocated to areas where there is direct access to offshore facilities.
" In the energy sector, all organisations tell us they are focused on asset utilisation, cost optimisation around managed transport and accomodation, business continuity and operational efficiencies."
PETER BRADYVICE PRESIDENT GLOBAL SERVICES - CWT
PartnerSHIP: Will there be a “new normal” for passenger mobility? Would it have occurred without the pandemic?
P.B.: Some elements will go back to how they were. In the energy, resource and marine space, travel is still mission-critical, so people will still travel to upstream sites for work. Upstream mission-critical travel will return faster than what we call transient business travel (for meetings, conferences, seminars, etc.). There will be a lot more remote working than there used to be, but you can’t replace personal contact so this form of business travel will slowly return.
Since the start of the pandemic, we have also seen changing patterns of mission-critical travel for site workers. This is partly because employees have been relocated to be close to upstream assets, but also because the lack of commercial flights has led to a significant increase in charter flights, which solve the problem of routes being cancelled by airlines.
The last 2 years have seen organisations going one step further than a duty of care, and really focusing on traveller well-being and mental health, especially when they are dealing with people travelling to high-risk destinations, being away from home for three to five weeks. Our clients were also factoring the harmful effect of sleep derivation into travel planning.
Another area where the new changes are continuing an earlier trend is travel documentation. We already have visa processes, work permits, immigration and transit visas. Because of tax policies in many countries and European posted worker conditions, we have to carefully track and document each individual’s travel history. But now health is also a factor: we have to take account of whether people have been travelled from a Covid-19 hotspot, been tested, actually had the virus, and soon been vaccinated. One challenge moving forward will be devising meaningful databases that will allow all this information to be shared.
PartnerSHIP: BOURBON has recently introduced the “Door-to-Rig” integrated service offer for mobility. Do you feel that it addresses current trends?
P.B.: This is very much part of a trend. In all verticals in the energy, resource and marine sector, all organisations tell us they are focused on asset utilisation, cost optimisation around managed transport and accommodation, business continuity and operational efficiencies. They want 24/7 servicing, 365 days a year. They also take user experience and satisfaction, duty of care, health and safety and traveller well-being very seriously. The ability to be able to automate their operations and all the processes involved is very significant. The benefits include higher accuracy, reduced unit costs, simplified and consolidated reporting, optimised asset utilisation and a more consistent user experience for travellers.
Bourbon Mobility’s Door-to-Rig global solution guarantees its customers that the logistics of their personnel are handled by a single service provider for the entire journey. PartnerSHIP asked Jacques-André Mayeur, CCO of Bourbon Mobility, to tell us how this service offer originated and explain its benefits for the customer.
PartnerSHiP: Why did you develop this particular offer in the current context?
Jacques-André Mayeur: The Door-to-Rig service offer came about as a result of the abrupt change of context in the oil sector. The fall in the price of a barrel of oil led to a sharp drop in investment by oil companies, and the Covid-19 crisis only accelerated the trend. The Door-to-Rig offer makes sense in such a context because some oil companies have decided both to redirect their investments towards low-carbon and carbon-free energies and to reduce their workforce, particularly in the logistics functions. Our customers have to cope with a slightly smaller number of personnel to send to the platforms, and with reduced logistics staff. But a company like ours has the capacity to manage personnel travel for the customer, from their homes to the rig or platform on which they work.
PartnerSHIP: What are the main customer benefits?
J.-A.M.: The principal advantage is that our customers can make savings in project management. Managing the transport of personnel from various countries, all the paperwork, certifications, visas, PCR tests, travel arrangements (including taxis, planes, coaches and then crew boats), accommodation, not forgetting the management of quarantine periods, is highly time-consuming. So it’s a real advantage for our clients to outsource such complex logistics to us, because we enable them to optimise the size of their teams dealing with these issues. This meets both an economic imperative and an imperative of scale. You need an agile structure, whether you’re managing 1 or 300 passengers!
PartnerSHIP: How did you go about doing this?
J.-A.M.: We have adopted a digital application specialising in passenger logistics, enabling us to manage all types of flows and their profiles (observing GDPR restriction), to plan and modify routing almost instantaneously, to manage all the assets on which our passengers will travel, to exchange data with hotels, airlines, etc. Customers can track the movements of their employees at every stage of the transfer. This transparency is key in customer relations.