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Cruising to a Career Dream

July 1, 2013 Appointments No Comments Email Email

Craig Birch started his working life as a 17-year-old teller with a big Australian bank but cruise ships were always his passion.

Craig Birch (standing) with P&O Cruises Logistics Manager Bruce Peters.

Craig Birch (standing) with P&O Cruises Logistics Manager Bruce Peters.

And after nearly 20 years in financial services, rising to branch loans manager, Craig can thank his wife, Michelle, for prompting the move to his dream job with P&O Cruises.

“Michelle told me I needed a change from finance so I took a tourism course at Penrith TAFE and ended up topping my class,” Craig said.

“Within two weeks of graduation, I was working at P&O Cruises as a cruise sales consultant and loving it.”

During his five years with the cruise line, Craig’s career trajectory has taken him even closer to the ships he once could only admire from afar.

He was recently appointed to a key role with the company as supply chain expediter.

As the job title suggests, it means being part of the amazing logistics exercise involved in resupplying P&O Cruises’ three superliner fleet during their turnarounds between cruises.

For the P&O Cruises’ supply chain team, a typical ship turnaround can involve up to 300 pallets or the equivalent of 15 semi-trailer loads of food, beverage and other supplies being delivered to the ship.

Nothing can be left to chance – or forgotten – in resupplying for a cruise that will require 80 tonnes of food including 50,000 eggs, 1000kg of bacon, 2800kg of chicken, 1000kg of lettuce, 2500kg of rice, 375kg of coffee, 1500 kg of pineapples and 5000 litres of milk.

The supply chain expediter role puts Craig right in the middle of the ship-to-shore connection looking after a fleet of cruise superliners that are constantly on the move.

“Being supply chain expediter is fascinating and, better still, no two days are ever the same,’ Craig said.

“It can include tracking down and sourcing urgently needed items for our onboard hotel and technical teams and it has to be done quickly and with great attention to detail.

“It is always satisfying to know we have helped make sure our ships receive what they need.”

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