Glauco Lolli Ghetti’s successors continue to forge joint ventures and expand fleet.
Generational change is rarely easy in a family-owned shipping company, but Scorpio Ship Management appears to be managing it pretty well.Patriarch Glauco Lolli Ghetti — who was one of the leading names in the Italian shipping industry in the 20th century — died last year at the age of 85.
But he had already been preparing for the handover of power for some time, gradually withdrawing from hands-on participation in the business, transferring ownership to his three daughters and bringing grandson Emanuele Lauro on board in 2003.Now, Mr Lauro runs day-to-day operations out of Scorpio’s Monaco office alongside general manager Aldo Poma, while his aunt, Geneva-based Maria-Amelia, serves as president.
The company is already a considerably larger and more complex operation than when Emanuele signed up four years ago.Then it had just three owned ships and three more on charter. Now, it owns five vessels and has 13 on charter, and manages or has a hand in more than 40.
It is also preparing for a new era of growth.
Mr Lauro describes the company’s development over these four years as testimony to a longstanding belief in cooperation and pooling.In 2004, it formed the Jacob-Scorpio Tankers pool with Jacob Tankschiffahrt, and the venture now has 16 ships in the water, with panamaxes on order at yards in China and South Korea.
He believes that a fleet of between 25 and 30 ships trading in the west provides the right degree of critical mass, adding that those new deliveries — due between May and August of this year — should help the pool reach that target soon.
He also anticipates boosting the pool’s complement of vessels trading in the east to 10 by the end of this year.Another key step forward came 18 months ago with the formation of Scorship, a KG joint venture with Konig & Cie. Scorship has just taken delivery of the second of six 73,500 dwt panamax tankers from China’s New Times shipyard.
The first two vessels have been chartered to China Oil, which has now placed both in the JST pool, becoming a fully fledged pool member.The remaining deliveries are due next year, and Mr Lauro says Tobias Konig’s initial prediction that Scorship could have between 15 and 20 ships funded by the end of 2008 still looks realistic.Indeed, Mr Konig’s energetic pursuit of growth for his own ventures also appears likely to benefit the pool. A number of new vessels may come into the fold as a result.
Now, Scorpio is on the move again.
In the second half of this year it will open a Singapore office as part of a determined move into the dry cargo market, with Daniele Pratolongo, formerly of Coeclerici, at the helm.
Mr Lauro says the company will transfer two double-hulled oil, bulk, ore carriers, built in the late 1980s and now running gasoline and coal between the continent and the US, to Singapore as “a trampoline” for the development of its new operation.
The ships are now coming to an end of charters with Clearlake.Mr Lauro says the new venture will be open to adding newbuilds or second-hand tonnage to the fleet as opportunities arise.
He added that Scorpio will also look to establish some long-term relations and possibly joint venture deals on ships with producers and charterers.
Its close relations with a number of trading houses should also help it considerably as it seeks to establish a presence in the market. It is logical to assume that Singapore will also handle the JST pool vessels trading in the east.
The success of the Singapore venture would also provide further evidence that Glauco Lolli Ghetti’s legacy is in safe hands.