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Elektrans: Tanker firm readies rapid expansion

The Elektrans Group is a new name in India to look out for. As well as a burgeoing shipmanagement empire, the company, via a Singapore subsidiary, is getting more and more into tanker ownership. Established in 2001, Elektrans Group – formerly known as Doehle Danautic India – is the brain child of Daniel Chopra. Chopra’s background prior to forming his own company was with Germany’s Peter Doehle, where he became the company’s youngest master mariner.

The company, which rebranded as Elektrans last year, now owns four Indian-flagged tankers and one foreign-flagged VLGC, all via its Singapore offshoot Gauri Ships. The shipowning vehicle is owned in partnership with Singapore-based Glen D’Costa. D’Costa worked with Chris Buttery and Paul Over, the original founders at Hong Kong’s Pacific Basin. He also helped the two famous shipping investors get their LPG venture, Epic Gas, up and running in Singapore.

“We do aspire to grow the fleet,” Chopra tells Maritime CEO. However, he’ll only shell out for new tonnage in sectors he sees with strong growth opportunities. For tankers, which have been “bullish” since last year, Chopra says, the slew of new ships coming into the sector this year will likely see a decline in rates in the second half, he reckons.

“Inspite of such softening,” Chopra says, “the tanker market is expected to remain comfortable for owners in the near future; crude oil and consequently bunker prices are expected to remain at low levels.”

Chopra intends to grow his fleet with a mix of flags – both Indian and overseas. The Indian economy offers the right owners some very good prospects, he says.

“India is globally regarded as the bright spot today,” Chopra says. “With the fast growth of the Indian economy, the Indian EXIM trade is also likely to rise. Thus, India will definitely have a very positive impact on the international shipping industry, but not at the same level as China over the last couple of decades.”

Another part of the diverse group’s business is in consolidation. Started last July, the company offers LCL (Less Than Container Load) and FCL (Full Container Load) services from its 14 offices across India.

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