There is a prudence surrounding the business decisions Anthony Gurnee tends to make that were his peers to follow would likely lead a far more healthy product and chemical tanker sector.
The CEO of Ardmore Shipping stresses the importance of focus and restraint when interviewed by Maritime CEO.
While he believes underlying fundamentals suggest product and chemical tankers have a solid medium term outlook, current charter rate levels are “challenging”. The supply/demand equilibrium is falling into place, he argues, but it remains a very fine balance.
“There are plenty of reasons to be positive about the demand growth for our sectors, which is set to continue at around 4-5%, driven by increased consumption and export-oriented refinery activity. At the same time, although there has been an imbalance in the MR segment, net fleet growth has declined and the orderbook is at a historic low,” Gurnee points out.
Ardmore is unlikely to get distracted by pursuing other ship types with Gurnee at the helm as he explains.
“We are disciplined in our strategic focus on the product and chemical sectors, rather than chasing opportunities in other sectors that risks diluting our expertise,” Gurnee says.
When it comes to this ‘discipline’, Gurnee uses the Maritime CEO platform to urge his peers to think twice before being swayed by very cheap newbuild temptations in the market at the moment.
“We hope that newbuild decisions by any operator will consider the wider supply-demand balance,” the Ardmore boss says.
Leading by example, Ardmore currently has no ships on order and Gurnee says there are no plans to order more at the moment.
“Having grown our fleet responsibly to this point, we don’t wish to add to net fleet growth in our sector at this time,” Gurnee says. Meanwhile, when it comes to the secondhand market Ardmore is maintaining a “watching brief” to act if the right opportunity presents itself.
“The right decisions on fleet growth are based on timing, access to capital and prudent market analysis, which requires insight on where the market is and foresight on where the market is heading,” Gurnee explains.
We don’t wish to add to net fleet growth in our sector at this time
Gurnee founded Ardmore in 2010 with the backing of private equity firm, Greenbriar. Gurnee had already had a long career in executive positions before Ardmore, having spent time as CFO of Teekay, president of Nedship International, and president and COO of Singapore’s MTM Group, among other positions.