On Friday, October 14th, 2016, Flinter’s management, having battled for years on end to survive from within a bleak, cutthroat market, received notice from their creditors that their day had come. The day they had collectively and honorably fought against; the day, they valiantly sacrificed as individuals for the common goal to survive the storm…
In vain, the storm simply lasted too long, and like several others in the unfortunate recent shipping years, the good folks at Flinter recognized their ill-chosen fate with grace. The world moves on; one less competitor and so be it. The good talented folks will find employment; talent always does, but how does this make things better?
On the short term, it doesn’t. If we permit ourselves to view a vessel as a mouth to feed on a daily basis from port to port, its management banner faltering simply enables a better credited vessel management team to increase their specific capacity, but market over capacity remains. In fact, it doesn’t change.
So why would a collective of so many bright and creative shipping leaders bring market over capacity upon themselves? It’s simple really, it’s because their individual perspectives and strategies are not geared to the collective goal of a successful market. Rather, the strategies chase the same prize, with similar insight, a personalized recipe and added freight capacity. The core issue lies in that the specific freight, albeit alluring, will only fill one mouth at a time leaving all the other mouths scrambling to find a replacement meal.
The core of the problem is that when excess capacity arises, it sails for 20-30 years; promptly returning to market balance becomes a bleak point on the horizon. `Hanging on`, in many instances, becomes the new corporate strategy.
The collective of great people at the former Flinter unfortunately demonstrated that despite amazing visual marketing, an often creative approach to booking freight, a positive attitude, a dedicated hard-working team united with a common goal, and so many other compliments that usually, under normal circumstances, make for a successful corporation, were simply, not enough.
The writing was on the wall for a lengthy period of time, but with a soft-spot for an unrelenting underdog resolved to overcome its fate, many of us wish they would have made it, if for nothing else, for the sheer grace they demonstrated throughout the process. So how do we learn from this? Its difficult really. Corporations are there to generate revenue and grow. Their objective, as specific entities, are perfectly legitimate and who needs additional regulation?! The market of supply and demand dictates the fate of these corporations and those of their customers. As long as our society remains motivated by these objectives as a collective, market imbalance shall govern whom gets their next meal and who has to lay idle.