The highly specialised industry of heavy lift shipping must rely on employees with extensive experience both ashore and onboard, therefore a long-term engagement of employees is of great value. In 1980, SAL was founded with a staff of three. Today, with the Japanese shipping corporation K Line holding 100% of the company, the number of employees has risen to over 600, and the fleet has grown to include 16 modern ships including those with DP2 capabilities. Training and education of all our employees, in combination with long-term career plans, are the key ingredients to our success.
The Philippines-based company Oste Crewing provides crewing services exclusively for SAL Heavy Lift. It offers holistic training services, extensive social benefits packages including health care, family activities and welfare to our Filipino crew. We are proud that many crew members who have started with us as cadets have become excellent crane operators, superb riggers and even ship's masters and chief engineers, continuing to deliver best expertise.
The European-based seafarers are employed directly at a SAL Group company - Neptun Crewing. Due to the highly specialised nature of heavy lift shipping, the largest part of training takes place on board by on-the-job-training. Due to the diversity of tasks that need to be managed, the training cycle is longer than in other fields of shipping and is less transferable.
One of SAL's core values is the approach to and understanding of HSEQ. From the moment the freshly-graduated students start with the company until they become qualified officers, the approach to health and safety is considered as most important on every level within SAL. Various employees' HSEQ seminars are held during the year, regular HSEQ meetings take place onboard and ashore, and our dedicated HSEQ Representatives sail with the vessels on many occasions.
For the shore-based positions, a great majority of SAL's current staff has been trained in-house through the dual-education system which is prevalent in Germany. Young school graduates pursue an apprenticeship which is divided into practical training in the company and theoretical training in a vocational school. At present, there are seven trainees at SAL headquarters, including one visually impaired woman who is supported in all her special needs.
Throughout the total time of three years, each trainee systematically rotates between the various departments. Trainees are also encouraged to spend some time on board the vessels to gain hands-on experience. Many of our former trainees are now climbing the career ladders at SAL. SAL further emphasises the importance of spending time in its overseas offices in the course of training to become familiar with the respective local circumstances and challenges.
Furthermore, German nautical and engineering students perform their mandatory internships on board SAL vessels or write their Bachelor's thesis at SAL's headquarters. In the majority of cases, students are hired after successful completion of their nautical degree.
SAL has always placed great importance on individual needs and preferences during training, resulting in very low turnover rates, a high degree of initiative and loyalty as well as employee satisfaction. Highly-skilled and experienced personnel are one of the biggest assets we have.