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David Palmer to retire as Wah Kwong readies reorganisation

David Palmer is set to retire as CEO of Hong Kong’s Wah Kwong, one of the territory’s oldest shipping lines.

Palmer, formerly with Pareto, took the reins at the Chao family controlled line early last year and has since been restructuring the company in a dramatic way.

At Wah Kwong the planned transition from Sabrina Chao as chairman to her brother Hing Chao as executive chairman and the reorganisation of the company into two divisions – shipowning and asset Management, managed by joint managing directors – is now imminent.

“This is a refocus for Wah Kwong that I have worked hard to facilitate,” Palmer told Splash today.

“43 years is a lifetime in shipping – it’s at least six shipping cycles ago, many trips back home ago, many hairs on my head ago, many inches on my waist ago, many friends and colleagues ago so it’s now time to decide whether I can run my day or I let the day run me,” Palmer said of his upcoming 65th birthday in three weeks’ time.

Splash understands Will Fairclough will be appointed managing director of the shipowning division of Wah Kwong.

Fairclough has been with Wah Kwong since 2007 and is also a co-founder of Mandarin Shipping along with Tim Huxley.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. I don’t think it is accurate to describe Wah Kwong as a shipping line but rather as a maritime corporation or shipping company.
    A Line implies that there is a frequency and regularity of service as described in a schedule, which I doubt Wah Kwong pretends to offer.

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