Fred Olsen Cruise Lines has confirmed it is conducting a restructuring of its Ipswich headquarters as the company looks to “evolve” the way it operates post-Covid-19.
Managing director Peter Deer said due to the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the cruise sector, Fred Olsen needed to “reinvent ourselves to ensure we come out of this stronger, and our operations are run as efficiently as possible”.
“Unfortunately, this does mean that there will be some redundancies as part of this process, because the way in which we will be working will be different,” he said.
Deer added that Fred Olsen, which employees around 220 people at its head office, was seeing “a good number” of guests transferring their holidays to next year, as well as new bookings for 2021, which was evidence “there is confidence and demand for cruise”.
However he explained that in order to capitalise and plan for the future, changes would need to be made.
“In order to evolve we are looking at every aspect of our business, and through the use of technology and streamlined operations expect to make savings of over a third on how we are working currently. It is so important to us that these savings bring efficiency without affecting our renowned guest experience, our relationship with our trade partners and customer service.
“Almost every business will have to evolve following the impact of Covid-19. We are a family-run company, and that is something that is felt across all elements of our business, from our head office in Suffolk to on board our ships. We have got ambitious plans for our future as a company, but in order to realise those ambitions we need to ensure we are operating as efficiently as possible.”
Deer insisted that despite the outcome of the restructuring, the trade would “continue to be exceptionally important to us, and will be key to our future when we are able to get back in the water”.
“Any restructure that we go through now will not change this, and it so important to us that we continue to have such strong working relationships with our trade partners on the other side of the pandemic.”
Deer said Fred Olsen would continue to support staff affected by the restructuring - including help with CV writing and interview skills.
The line will also be looking at alternatives to redundancy as part of the consultation process.
“We are confident in the future of our business, but we do need to make some changes to safeguard our company for many more generations to come,” Deer added.