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As we enter 2023, it would be celebratory to ban the C-word: Covid. But when discussing one of the leading businesses in the cruising sector, it's simply unavoidable. ,With the pandemic bringing the cruise industry to complete standstill, the revenue of the global leading cruise companies dropped substantially, some by up to 91%. ,Of course, this sent a ripple effect through the cruise sector’s supply chain. ,But, it’s not all doom and gloom. A report from the Cruise Line Industry Association (CLIA) indicates demand for cruising remains strong, with an increase in those saying they plan to cruise again. ,This is reflected in the outlook of leading marine outfitting business, MJM Marine Ltd. The company foresees growth in the coming years and the introduction of revolutionary new products for its customers. ,,The Preferred Partner,Established in 1983, MJM initially provided joinery services for the construction sector and refurbishment services to the Irish Sea Ferry Corridor. Throughout the years, the business incorporated a specialist joinery division enabling MJM to branch into the hotel and leisure industries.,MJM are a leading global outfitting company in the cruise industry and the preferred partner for many of the world`s cruise brands.,“What has helped secure our position in the industry is our ability to truly understand our customer’s brand,” explained CEO Gary Annett, “ultimately, the experience on board is what we build for our customers, and we play a role in delivering this to the highest standard”.,When speaking with Business Enquirer, Gary also highlighted MJM’s agility is critical to its success. ,“We have the ability to complete large projects in 16 weeks, from concept through to handover to the cruise line and ultimately passengers enjoying their vacation. We manage the challenges that come with global supply chains and logistics to take the stress away for our customers. MJM is now synonymous with reliability and flexibility,” said Gary. ,,Navigating Recovery,Ahead of the global industry-wide shut down, MJM had a healthy order book, with seven major projects on the precipice of Installation. ,“We took this time to consolidate the business and manage the logistics of our material & products in different parts of the world, and advance our training and digital programmes, ensuring that we were in a strong position for when the industry inevitably restarted and began to recover,” explained Gary.,Unfortunately, during this period MJM saw a reduction in staff numbers. Now, the business is stepping into a period of growth. ,“Last year we grew our team by over 50 staff in Newry, the focus for 2023 is certainly further growth,” shared Gary.,However, like most industries, MJM has found there is a labour shortage. , “Late 2019, MJM launched Navigate, its early careers programme. MJM’s Navigate Programme supports the Company’s student recruitment activities. It is an umbrella programme which encompasses our engagement with Schools and Universities specifically covering opportunities for Work experience, Placements, Apprentices and Graduates. The scheme equips people with the skills, knowledge, qualifications, and experience to succeed in their chosen field, whether that's in Quantity Surveying, Project Management, or Design, for example,” said Gary., “Being based on a relatively small island, it’s important that we can train upcoming colleagues and also empower them to be able to adapt,” he continued. ,Forming part of MJM’s growth strategy is also the investment into its facilities in Newry, Northern Ireland and Gdansk, Poland. The business will also seek to expand the business footprint and develop its digital solutions to its core activities.,“With growth, it’s important that we manage our teams and locations, ensuring that we are completely integrated across sites. Our digital journey and the way we manage and develop our business end to end continues to evolve”., ,Challenge Brings Opportunity,Despite all the challenges caused by COVID, the world also learnt to adapt, including at MJM.,With its customers having their own unique approach to returning to sea, the business saw the need for adaptations in projects. By-2021, MJM were working on various types of customer projects which also included upgrading of medical facilities aboard vessels, enabling customers to get back to sea safely. ,Despite the industry not being completely back to pre-COVID conditions, with customers looking to build financial stability before investing in bigger projects, the outlook for MJM is positive. ,“Our reputation has ensured as the core market changes, we have strong existing partnerships across the sector.,” explained Gary, “we’ve built fantastic relationships with the likes of Ritz–Carlton as they enter the market - we’ve just supported them on their first new build”.,“With the sustainability measures we’re implementing as a business as well as into client projects, the next steps will be to start monitoring the output and effects,” he said. ,“During our last project of 2022 we refitted 450 cabins and 21 suites in 32 days including the installation of antimicrobial lighting technology in the cabin wet units. The technology enabled MJM to support onboard health measures with antimicrobial protection within the cabin spaces for guests and crew. The project on the Marella Discovery had an installation team of over 650 people aboard. It was a large project coming off the back of smaller, COVID-restricted jobs. Whilst it was our largest project of the year, our reputation and familiarity in this scale of project were again proven in the seamless delivery, and evidence that the industry could start to return,” shared Gary.,Gary believes that the market is still very much in a recovery phase but is in a positive position to start going from strength to strength in the coming years. ,