Maritime CEO

Denholm Group: BIMCO presidency looms


Glasgow: The incoming new president of BIMCO, the world’s largest shipowning body, will pursue a strong focus on the environment. John Denholm, chairman and chief executive of Scotland’s Denholm Group, is president designate of BIMCO, his elevation to replace Varun Shipping’s Yudhishthir Khatau in the top spot at the end of May.
“I have decided to focus on the environment,” reveals Denholm, saying that there are some “important battles” to be won on the environmental side.
When it comes to greenhouse gases, for instance, Denholm reckons the industry is now addressing the issue as “economic conditions are forcing us to do it.” Denholm says that if the industry carries on replacing tonnage with ecoships then there will be no need for taxes, levies or market based instruments to counter shipping’s carbon footprint.
When it comes to the sulphur debate Denholm is concerned that precipitous regulations from on high might cause disaster to world trade.
“If SOx regulations come in too fast, both refineries and ships won’t be ready,” he warns, adding: “There could be queues at petrol stations.”
Scrubbers are unproven, Denholm says, while LNG as a fuel is “a long way off”.
“The timescale of the regulations needs to be rethought,” Denholm urges.
Similarly, the rush by authorities to push though ballast water regulation needs to be relooked at, says the incoming BIMCO head, who will be in the role for a tandard two-year tenure. Ballast water solutions are expensive, retrofits pricey, Denholm says, advising that this regulation should be similar to double hulled ships, a phase out over time. 
The Denholm name is one of the most famous in shipping, stretching back to 1866 and is well associated with BIMCO, John’s great grandfather being one of the founding fathers of the organisation.
“Back then,” Denholm admits, “it was a good old fashioned cartel. Over time the association has evolved to suit the needs of the industry.”
The Denholm Group was founded 147 years ago in Greenock, Scotland as a ship agent. Since 1872 it has been a shipowner. For a number of years it became best known as a shipmanager, something that culminated 11 years ago with Hong Kong’s Anglo-Eastern buying out Denholm’s shipmanagement business.
The Denholm Group got rid of most of ships, mainly product tankers, by 2007, one year ahead of shipping’s great crash. Today, the company owns just one 42,000 dwt open hatch bulk carrier.
Denholm admits there is “lots of temptation” to order at the moment, revealing: “We are actively looking.”
In terms of ship types Denholm is hunting, he says: “I instinctively like the product market, but am concerned with the batch of ships recently ordered.”
Denholm, a trained accountant, is the fourth generation of his family engaged in the business. Two from the fifth generation are already working in the firm, which employs 3,000 staff, excluding seafarers.  [19/04/13]
NEED TO KNOW:  Denholm Group
Denholm Group is a British maritime company based in Glasgow. It was founded by John Denholm in Greenock in 1866 and today has an annual turnover of over £250m. It employs over 3,000 people around the world. Having slashed its fleet to just one vessel, it is now actively looking at adding ships.
The Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) is the largest of the international shipping associations representing shipowners; it controls around 65 percent of the world’s tonnage and it has members in more than 120 countries, including managers, brokers and agents. BIMCO draws its board of directors from the 20 countries with the largest tonnage.

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