This month we spoke to Eleonora D’Orio, Senior Business Analyst at Infospectrum’s London office. She shared what it is like working in shipping along with how the industry has evolved since her career began.
Eleonora has been a member of the Infospectrum team for eight years now and has been working in the maritime industry for 16 years. Her shipping career started at the Augustea group in Naples, southern Italy, in 2004, where she worked in the Treasury & Finance Department. Two years later, she relocated to London to join the Chartering & Risk Management Department of the same group, working alongside their principal/CEO. She also took on the role of Quality Manager there. Prior to entering the maritime industry, she worked as a TV/press journalist in her hometown, after completing a masters in Economic Journalism.
In October 2012, Eleonora joined the London office of Infospectrum, to join the Italian desk (which she now leads) and to support the wider analyst team which covers the Mediterranean markets, leveraging her language skills (including French and Spanish) and widening her knowledge outside the dry bulk market. “I have learnt a lot during the past few years,” she says, “especially with regard to long and complex debt restructurings, which many Italian companies have undertaken in recent years. I’ve also gained knowledge in the commodities sector.”
Eleonora explains that there are many positive aspects about working at Infospectrum. “It’s hard to pick just one favourite thing, but if I had to, it would be the investigative nature of the role, and the in-depth research involved. The fact that we all come from different international backgrounds, which reflects the “soul” of the maritime industry, is also an interesting factor.”
She tells us that she likes every day in her job being different. “Working as an analyst at Infospectrum is a dynamic role where no two days are the same - we are always learning new and exciting things. Our job also gives us the opportunity to establish a good network of connections in the industry, by attending conferences, seminars and other events, especially if you are based in a great shipping hub like London!”
“You definitely need to be someone who likes challenges; sometimes it might not be straight forward to obtain clarification on important information, which will be part of our assessment, from key decision makers, such as owners or managers. But if you persevere, you will get there in the end!”
Eleonora has seen some big changes in the industry since she joined Infospectrum. “Generally, it has changed across all sectors, which has been driven by many factors, including new regulations, sanctions, alternative financing, and most recently, the Covid-19 pandemic. For example, in the Italian market, I have seen various dry bulk and tanker businesses that used to be run by families for generations, to be recently sold to private funds; I have also seen oil concerns switching their core business to renewables, because they believe that’s where the future lies.”
We asked Eleonora to describe herself in one word, and she said ‘meticulous’. “This means I look at companies at 360 degrees. I have a curious nature which makes me want to get to the bottom of things, and not give up.”
For those who want to enter the industry, Eleonora advises to attend as many seminars and networking events as you can. “The ones I go to include those organised by professional bodies in London, such as SPNL, London International Shipping Week, ICS, YMP and the Baltic Exchange. You should also try to acquire a professional qualification and popular analytics skills, over and above your academic education, which will help boost your knowledge and build your profile. Keep up to date with industry press reports and follow what is going on, and what influences/drives the industry. Being passionate about it is a must!”
Our discussion then moved on to the challenges that people are facing in the industry at the moment. “It’s evident that most segments have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The fall in global demand for commodities has reduced the scale of operations for many shipping companies, has disrupted logistic systems and port terminals, and brought-in unexpected costs. The oil sector has also taken a hit due to the lack of demand from certain industries/sectors, including cruise, automobile and aviation companies, which for many bunker traders were a large source of income, as a result of the lockdown restrictions imposed by countries worldwide. The knock-on effects of this long crisis will be visible in the financial statements ending December 2020 (and beyond this period), once they become available”.
A typical day in her role is often very busy and varied. “On a ‘standard day’, I would tackle a combination or all of the tasks of our function, which include planning, thorough research, talking to numerous sources and to the management of the company we report on, analysing information, data, and financial statements, obtaining references, and compiling our report and assessment. On many occasions, I would also discuss the company with our head of ratings before completing my work, always having it checked by our quality management system prior to sending the report to the client.”
Outside of work, Eleonora likes exploring new places (by travelling within and outside the UK), visiting museums and exhibitions, going to the theatre, and swimming and walking near the sea. She also loves cooking Italian meals to share with family and friends, often accompanied by political talks around the table (Italians love that, she admits!). On a grey day indoors, she likes to read books on history and literature or watch Italian detective, Montalbano!
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