Glenn Armstrong: Maritime Cook Islands
Glenn Armstrong has been a Director of Maritime Cook Islands (MCI) since 2005. From 2006 to 2019 he was the CEO and has now returned to being a director only. Glenn’s vision is aligned with that of MCI, to have a world class open registry for ships and yachts based in the Cook Islands. His passion for the maritime registry business and the challenge of building a great team supported by efficient systems has led to a successful operation. Committed to safe and secure shipping on clean oceans, MCI provides internationally compliant services for ship registration, survey and certification and seafarer training and certification.
Maritime Cook Islands have established a system for the provision of customer focused services which include a state-of-the-art IT platform, and ISO 9001:2015 quality management system and a global network of agents, Deputy Registrars, surveyors, and other service providers.“MCI has a very positive culture,” says, Armstrong, “we are a tight team who work together and play together. We are very service oriented and strive to have happy clients, happy work mates and happy shareholders.”
Armstrong says MCI look after their clients by providing fast accurate service. The IT system combined with their Quality Management system means that agents and staff around the world can process applications and issue certificates or exemptions or whatever is required as soon as all requirements have been met. MCI have several merchant ship fleet owners, but do not publicise their identity. In the Yachting segment there are more individual owners as opposed to fleet owners. With 521 yachts on the register of which 143 are over 24 metres, 102 are over 35 metres and 276 are over 50 metres.
Armstrong attributes their success to always being customer focused and by giving our agents and staff the tools that they need to do the job. “Our goal is to have 1% of the world’s tonnage on our register in the next 10 years,” says Armstrong, “this would put us in the top 20 ship registries in the world. In yachting we aspire to be in the top five superyacht registries in the world.”
When discussing how MCI have developed such a good network, he elaborates on how MCI started with a few agents who became successful and that led to interest from others who saw these early role models. In the early years Armstrong did a lot of traveling and meeting people, to recruit agents and surveyors and meet other people who have helped us. Armstrong’s tip for success is to “look after your staff, your agents and your customers and they will look after you.” He encourages potential staff and clients alike, to “get in touch with us – we will look after you.”
It seems COVID-19 did not impact MCI in the way it was first anticipated. Armstrong says, “we have been very lucky – our business did not suffer at all – in fact your yacht business in particular grew.” Being customer service and staff satisfaction focused, MCI was able to fall back on their well-established systems during COVID-19. “We were always set up to operate remotely – to give our overseas staff and agents the ability to do business on our platform,” says Armstrong, “COVID meant that the staff had more choice as to whether to attend the office for work or to work from home. Most choose to come to the office but appreciate the flexibility offered. Some of the forced savings will be locked in – less travel – more Zoom and Skype.”