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I always knew I would work for a port company

Kristupas Armonaitis, who has been working at our terminal for three years, is a planner and is not even thinking about any professional changes.


Kristupas Armonaitis, from Palanga, was surrounded by relatives from his childhood who worked in companies operating in the port. He is convinced that it is like a silent gene that has been coded and passed on to him, as generation after generation has worked in the sector.


- Kristupai, how did it happen that you knew from a young age that you would work for a port company?

- My childhood, adolescence and present were and are connected with Klaipėda, the port and the professions that operate there. In the immediate environment where I grew up, there were always people who worked or still work in the port companies. Naturally, I was very close to what was going on in the port, so the choice to become part of one of the port companies was more than expected.  


- Does the saying that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree apply to you?

- Professionally, yes. Although I will not hide the fact that, after finishing school, I wanted to study outside Lithuania and in a specialisation not related to the port, but because of the cancellation of the programme, I had to stay at home and take the so-called "gap year". It was during this time that I tried my hand at various fields and jobs, from hotel receptionist to talman.


- Talman! Let's stop. After all, it is only a port-based position. What was the experience like?

- Yes, it is a speciality that I tried out in the "gap year" mentioned in the KCT and I must say that I am grateful for the experience I had as a talman when I was working as a planner. Thanks to this experience, I have an understanding of the ship's entire loading chain, which makes my job as a planner easier.

Although I was a talman for a short period of time, I found it to be a very interesting, dynamic and non-boring activity. I have to dispel the myth that the job of a talman is extremely difficult. Not if you are willing to work and know what you are doing.


- You are currently working as a planner at KCT, have you completed any studies related to this profession?  

- Not at all. I did a degree that has nothing to do with my current position, it was in directing. If we were joking, we could liken the preparation of a container loading plan to the work of a director. After all, a director sees the big picture and knows who and what tasks to shape, whereas in my case, the planner sees the big picture of the loading and knows who to delegate to. The work of both "directors" is equally important, because the final and positive result is needed for both.


- Share what is the planner's job?

- I particularly like to do responsible work, which is what a planner does. Good communication skills and knowledge of foreign languages are particularly important in this job, as I have to constantly communicate with the crew members of the ships.

The main task of the planner is to plan the loading and unloading of container vessels in a way that maximises the efficiency of both parties, in professional communication with the assistant master or the crew members responsible. The processes must be not only safe but also fast, so the planner needs to be familiar with the specifics of the loading, the technical parameters of the cargo and the characteristics of the vessels. 

- So it is experience and personal qualities that are more important for a planner's job than education?

- What I didn't learn at university, I get with practice and experience. Every day, every situation, every task solved or unsolved gives me some new experience. 

This job requires several personal qualities: high responsibility, diligence and the ability to work in a team. These are qualities that anyone can develop if they are not innate.


- Is the job of a planner one of those jobs that is difficult to get out of? You go home, but your head is in the office - your mind is on your work...

- There is certainly no boredom in this job - every day brings innovations and challenges, but my mind does wander to work when things go wrong. It's just not that day. But I'm very happy because my manager is a team player who understands work processes and encourages me to learn from my mistakes rather than stop and regret them. 


- You mentioned the word "challenges", what are some of the challenges you face at work?

There are situations where a ship arrives and the containers are not loaded according to the ship's plan sent to us. This means that we have to react urgently and re-plan the received plan so that our colleagues involved in the unloading process can carry out their tasks properly. 

Also, storms and ships on raids are already a challenge for us, as we have to take on many ships at the same time when the disaster is over. Therefore, in such situations, the togetherness of all colleagues and teamwork become crucial. If you try to manage the whole process on your own, you will make more mistakes than you will gain. 


- Ten years from now, can you see yourself working as a planner? 

- Whether my career path will remain the same or change is difficult to predict today. I can say that I can definitely see myself working at the port of Klaipėda.

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