Pictured with the Namibian Ambassadro to Sweden, HE Morina Muuondja (middle) are Hileni Amakali (left) and Leena Kagolo.
Two post-graduate maritime students have just written their names into history as the very first Namibian students successfully completing their courses at the World Maritime University in Sweden.
Hileni Amakalie and Leena Kagolo resumed their employment at the Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) after spending fourteen months in the Swedish city of Malmo where the university is based.
After completing an assessment on its future need for specific technical skills, Namport realised it had to empower its own employees to acquire the skills that will carry it into the future.
The port authority’s HR Executive, Dr Felix Musukubili said training is one of their key strategic imperatives and once it surfaced that they lack skilled people in certain areas like Marine Operations, Engineering and Law, a Service Level Agreement was concluded in 2015 with the Maritime University for the further education of Namport post-graduate employees.
Talking about her academic experience, Kagolo emphasised that the course they completed is designed to respond directly to the real needs of the maritime industry by providing the skills needed today and in the future. “Furthermore it equips the graduate with essential knowledge for the optimization of maritime education nder international law, the creation, acquisition and transfer of knowledge across maritime knowledge clusters and the optimum leadership of contemporary organizations,” she added.
On her part, Amakalie said “Some of the modules included Port Logistics and Planning, Fundamentals of Shipping and Ports, Maritime Commercial Law and Market Analysis in Shipping and Ports, amongst others. The Port Management specialization covered a wide array of technical and commercial aspects as well as principles and practices of modern port management.”
As a port manager, Namport operates as a node in vast value chains that connect land and sea. In this regard, Amakali said they learned a lot from field study visits where they experienced first-hand the operations at much bigger ports. These trips also created many networking opportunities with other maritime professionals around the world. “With Namport’s’ ambition of becoming a truly global port, dissemination of information and streamlining its current operations, for example, its manual processes will have to be changed in due course,” she said.
Back in Namibia, both feel they now have much to offer, mostly as a result of their new-found knowledge. “I intend to develop a competence/ knowledge management system which will reconcile the industry, the port and the employees to manage and retain knowledge and ensure that operational efficiency is improved. This will help Namport to examine how it should learn using modern tools and how this impacts growth, sustainability, relevance and profitability. But on a daily basis I will keep sharing my knowledge and provide advice where possible,” said Kagolo.
On the future, Amakalie said “The maritime industry is changing rapidly, hence it is expedient that port authorities and terminal operators work around the clock to address unprecedented challenges, such as larger ships entering the market and increasing carrier alliances.”
“The sky is not the limit, it is but a beautiful view. Never limit yourself, leave the comfort zone every so often and never stop pursuing your goals. In the wise words of the late Nelson Mandela “A winner is a dreamer who never gives up,” said Amakalie.