Contrary to the prevailing mood of consolidation seen in the sector and shipping in general, one shipmanager tells Maritime CEO today there is a push back against the largest names in the shipmanagement business.
Vinay Gupta, managing director of Union Marine Management Services, claims to have received new ships in recent months from owners who felt they were not getting the right level of attention from some of the shipmanager majors.
Founded in Singapore in 2012, Union Marine now manages 30 ships for six different owners from Japan, Greece, the Isle of Man, Croatia and Singapore. Gupta says the ideal fleet size for his company going forward is somewhere between 50 and 60 vessels.
“In my opinion,” Gupta says, “shipmanagement is a service industry and policies that are made at the top have to be followed and implemented at the ground level by the superintendents, masters and chief engineers.”
In a larger organisation, Gupta claims, where there is so much of what he describes as a “power gap” and limited accessibility, it is difficult, he argues, for the guidelines to percolate down to the grass root level.
“Unlike hardware based industries where emulation of process is easier to control and monitor, the service industry loses its cutting edge when it becomes too big,” Gupta says, adding: “I think more and more owners have also started to realise this.”
Despite the wave of consolidation seen throughout shipmanagement, Gupta is adamant he has no intention of merging Union Marine with anyone.
“I think it would be against our core philosophy to get merged with a larger shipmanager,” he says, “since the majority of our owners have given ships based on our size now and commitment to remain medium sized. Therefore, we do not wish to lose our originality by joining the rat race.”
Union Marine’s size allows it to pursue quality that larger names cannot match, Gupta reckons.
“Our safety records, PSC records and incident records are clear examples of extreme micromanagement that was possible only due to our size and close follow up,” he concludes.