What does your role entail?
As general manager of Jebsens Trans-Pacific Shipping, which is now in joint venture with our partners MUR Shipping, (“JebMur”), covering client liaison and daily issues arising from our contracts for shipments of potash/sulphur and other commodities from the US West Coast into Australasia. “Trans-Pac’s” service commenced in 2000 and there were many very exciting and demanding years in the trade development leading up to our JebMur joint venture in 2009.
How did you get the role and into the industry itself?
Jebsens offered me the role in 2000, coming from my number of years in the Armada group and numerous years in shipbroking with Elder-Austral, Southwest Chartering. I started in the shipping industry after matriculating for university, and took what was intended to be a short term job with George Will’s shipping agents while having to wait six months before the next army officer training intake began. The Shipping industry was exciting, interacting with many different nationalities and cultures, so the full time Army lost out but in the years ahead I still got in five years Army Reserve and Officer school.
Some career highlights?
My years with Elder-Austral Chartering which at the time in the 70s/early 80s was the premiere shipbroking company in Australia, gave me the opportunity to spend a year in Norway and a year in UK. Norway was fabulous, spending time with RS Platou learning tanker, chemical carrier, sale and purchase broking and then time with Jebsens, Wil Wilhelmsen and Norweigan Bulk Carriers on the owners’ side, and while in the UK, I spent time with Clarksons and Elders shipbroking. The 70s and 80s were exciting years for learning the shipping business, leading to two directorships within Elder-Austral and the then huge Elders-IXL conglomerate of the 1980s.
What is one thing about the industry that you would like to change?
Membership and training through the ICS I’d like to see as mandatory for the young people entering the industry in Australia, whether on the ship owner, charterer or broking side. The legal responsibility in the industry is now paramount and if something in performance goes astray, it can turn into a major difficulty very quickly with follow on legal consequences. We now live in such a litigious social and corporate environment with the legal card now drawn first rather than sitting down to find an amicable resolution.
Have you got a family?
I’ve been blessed with four children – my two older boys are at university, my daughter is doing a gap year in the United Kingdom before returning to start at Melbourne Uni and my youngest has just started year 9. He wants to be an architect and from his drawing in past years, there is a very good chance he will be a great success in that field.
Have you got any special hobbies?
My interests are in astronomy, science, history, and reading and of course that generational thing … gardening. I do like sailing but have little opportunity these days. I read a new book about every two weeks, having just finished ‘Lions of the West’, a history of the American expansion into Texas and the Midwest in the 1800s set against the stories of the individual historical figures of the time.
Have you got a favourite television show or movie?
My two older boys would raise their eyes, but it would have to be the Star Trek movies with my 15-year-old son. it’s the science and the positive future that I enjoy. James Tiberius Kirk has to be my favourite captain of the Enterprise because of his just restrained rebellious nature and left field thinking.
Is there an Australian person you particularly admire?
The current book I’m reading is on General Sir John Monash (ANZAC Commander during World War I) a truly great man, and he is exemplified today by General Sir Peter Cosgrove our Governor General. My admiration for our GG is based on his concern for the welfare of his troops, his excellence of action out in the field, and being a fair-dinkum Aussie. I have friends who have been involved with him in the senior level of the military and they all have wonderful comments about the qualities that make him the man he is. I would say as our Governor General, he really is combining his role as the Monarch’s representative but also being a true representative of the Australian people more so than those we have had in that position in the past. His military service has given him a very good understanding of people, personalities and the status of his office.
What are you looking forward to during the year 2017?
A much improved and growing dry bulk shipping market, but I think the chances are touch and go as market expansion does not appear to be solidly based on any underlying major expanding economic growth and we are, I believe, on the cusp of some quite dramatic worldwide events – particularly with the international banking system highly exposed derivatives position with the spectre of bank ‘bail -ins’, bumpy economic and political upheavals, all of which may just lead us into the prospect of ‘living in interesting times’.
Is there a social issue about which you feel strongly?
Political correctness. I think it is removing the basis of free speech for the people in Australian society and is becoming a most destructive force in western society.
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From the print edition March 2, 2017