Barak Lafer: Adaptability to change enabled our penetration in the market and helped reach customers despite COVID-19 challenges


What do you think the shipping industry would look like post-covid?

During the post-covid era, we have seen two clear trends, the first one being a massive increase in trade along with an increase in the volume of import and export despite the fact that the transport of goods during the initial days of the pandemic was quite a challenge due to safety precautions and border restrictions worldwide. Although the volume of import and export had been rising even before covid was known to any of us, to see such an increase during these challenging times, and to recover from such a critical phase in less than a year is simply remarkable. 

However, the second trend we have noticed is the unfortunate rise in piracy cases, especially in some areas such as Central America and the Caribbean. Moreover, the greater concern is that this trend may probably continue to remain the same, at least until the governments of countries are able to normalize things again and transfer the funds for the welfare and health of their citizens.

To what extent does the steady growth of the maritime industry despite the pandemic impact your company’s performance?

Our company along with many other organisations around the globe was affected greatly by the COVID-19 pandemic right at the beginning of the crisis, as the situation was quite unclear and there were many unknown variables. The company had to go through one of the most challenging times of its history when the country was under a lockdown and work came to a complete standstill. However, as time passed by, and things got under control to some extent, we were able to adapt and set a daily routine for ourselves under the guidance of the Ministry of Health. Currently, we are not facing as many challenges as we were during the initial days because of the efforts we have put in towards normalizing our lives, and have been operating quite well in our capacity since the past few months.  

Even though there are some active covid cases in the country, our work routine is being followed quite smoothly. We were able to adapt and overcome the obstacles caused by flight restrictions and other limitations that hindered our business activities by conducting webinars and zoom sessions with our partners and clients in Latin America, Africa, and Asia Pacific. Our adaptability to change has enabled our penetration in the market and has helped us reach out to our customers even though we were unable to meet them personally. Covid has brought a lot of opportunities for us as we were able to achieve some major breakthroughs last year in a lot of regions, which has led to the signing of some significant projects that will be completed over the next couple of years.     

How well did you have to prepare your business model to ensure that your company continues to expand and grow despite the pandemic?

We have developed a business model that helps us create continuity in our work environment, because we believe that as long as work is carried out smoothly as per the planned schedule, the growth of the company becomes eminent. We believe in making use of specialised workforces to ensure delivery of top notch results, which is why we have a unit specialized in the Naval sector that focuses on navy products, and we have a unit specialized in the commercial sector that builds merchant ships, tugs, boats, etc. We make use of our skilled labor, engineers, and state of the art machinery to successfully complete major projects with the best results possible. 

We also invest a lot of time and money in constantly improving our work, and have made investments to innovate and develop the naval sector with the help of startups that have unique solutions to the most complex problems. This forward thinking strategy of ours gives us the edge to overcome challenges in the future, thus giving additional value to our partners and clients around the world.