The Safmarine Way

Today I received a press release that compels a comment. Apparently Safmarine was recognised at an awards ceremony yesterday. To quote the title of the press release: “Safmarine wins coveted Containerisation International Investment in People of the Year’ award”. Surely I am not alone in finding this just a little ironic?

This award comes exactly ten days after the announcement that Safmarine’s corporate functions would be “integrated” into Maersk and certainly not outside of the memory of the closing of a certain Safmarine department based in Cape Town.

Now one does understand that the judging was done some time back, but one cannot help but think that the some 240 people likely to be affected by this latest “integration” into Maersk may well find this announcement to be a bit of a slap in the face. Especially as the press release quotes a judge saying; “The entries demonstrated just how important staff are in any organisation and what can be achieved in terms of performance and branding ….”

To his credit, Safmarine’s HR Director Con De Ruig did have the decency to allude to the recent “changes in organisational structure” when he accepted the award. “Safmarine faces its greatest test ever and will, through its people, continue to serve customers in the Safmarine Way,” he said.

While one can certainly understand that the decision to integrate Safmarine into Maersk makes complete business sense and even commend them on maintaining separate operations for so long – it surely must have been a little embarrassing to accept such an award and send out a press release of this nature so soon after announcing the Maersk integration!

Perhaps that’s just the Safmarine Way!