Seven Islands Shipping eyes gas carrier and boxship entries

Fast-growing Seven Islands Shipping (SISL) is looking to diversify from its tanker origins into gas carriers and boxships. The Indian line, controlled by Prem Watsa, has 20 crude and product tankers currently in its fleet.

Watsa, who is the chairman of Fairfax India Holdings Corporation, which has the largest stake in Seven Islands, has written to shareholders outlining fleet diversification plans.

“Until now, SISL had only owned and operated tankers that transported liquid cargo. But, based on the current ship prices and charter rates, it sees potential for better growth from gas carrier and containers. They are in the process of assessing this opportunity in greater detail,” Watsa wrote to shareholders this month.

Watsa is not the only tycoon looking at India’s growing gas needs. State-run Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) is due to be privatised later this year. One of the bids lodged comes from Exmar, GMS and Foresight. Earlier this week Foresight executives discussed with local newspaper Business Standard their plans to make SCI into an energy-focused shipowner, with big investments in LNG carriers.

“We want to transition SCI from a conventional shipping company to specifically energy tonnage. India energy demand is expected to grow double digit,” a Foresight executive said.

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.
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