Recruitment strategy to attract an Asian shipping firm

Client requirements
When the consultant was hired by the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), one on the New England region’s key economic generation groups with an annual impact on the New England economy in excess of $8 billion, he was charged with developing and executing a recruitment strategy to attract an Asian shipping firm to provide direct service to the Port of Boston. Massport had been unsuccessfully trying to attract an Asian carry for over 15 years prior to the consultant’s hire. When the consultant came on board the situation had deteriorated significantly for the port with the demise of the Sealand/Maersk global shipping consortium. The demise of that consortium resulted in the ending of the port’s only direct service. Without such service or a new service recruitment, the Port of Boston, America’s oldest continual operating public port, faced privatisation and a lose of a significant number (1700+) of port labor-union jobs.TxbDzeAhRmCwa6DDrbOQ_kazan-big

The consultant did an immediate review of prior efforts to attract an Asian carrier. That review showed that previous efforts attempts that were all based on shipping numbers did not meet the actual full spectrum of needs of the shipping lines top decision makers.

The consultant utilizing his own professional and personal relationships began a step by step effort to move up the decision maker levels from midlevel management to senior executive in both China Ocean Shipping Corporation (COSCO) and China Shipping. The result of that effort was the ability to network with the President of COSCO. Through that effort, the consultant identified the larger strategic needs for COSCO and its leadership. Those needs included both the bottom-line for the shipping efforts, as well as the corporate need to be seen as a Chinese business thought leader in the West, particularly the United States by promotion of the COSCO Success Story.

With that knowledge, the consultant pulled together stakeholders from the above larger New England Promotional Strategy for China. These stakeholders included groups that could make the shipping case (New England-based exporters, importers and other trade logistic groups) to show that the ton equivalent units (TEUs) would be available for a viable service, as well as stakeholders that could provide the COSCO leadership with the global platform to show its Chinese thought leadership position. This later group included the ability for the President of COSCO to present at Harvard Business School, Harvard’s East Asian Fairbanks Center, as well as MIT’s innovation collaborative. The reason that these groups were very willing to organize and promote these COSCO presentations was that the consultant had discovered via his networks at these two academic institutions that both institutions were trying to expand their consultancy and training program offerings to major Chinese state-owned enterprises. COSCO’s leader, being the head of then China’s third largest entity after the Communist Party and China State Petroleum, was a perfect Chinese strategic partner for these institutions. In short, the consultant identified and exploited both the business and strategic needs for the Chinese and American groups.

Based on this strategy, the President of COSCO and the CEO of Massport announced in May 2001 their combined efforts to work to the establishment of direct service by COSCO to the Port of Boston. In the decade since the consultant’s successful recruitment strategy and the commencement of this service, the service (according to Massport figures) has provided Massport with $89 million+ in additional revenue, 9,000 (mostly union) jobs directly tied to the service, with an additional 35,000 jobs in the New England region dependent on that service. That service recruitment became the the initial effort to recruit additional investment and strategic alliances between China and New England in most of the fields identified in the larger promotional strategy.

The consultants knowledge and experience of working with senior decision makers help him facilitate the processes of engagement and align their objectives to secure a common set of goals and strategies resulting in significant results.

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