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c a f of

a i l a r g t s n i u a ipp h s

• David Anderson • Anil Bhatia • Tim Blood • Kevin Bracken • Peter Brueckner • Michael Coffey • Tony Cousins • Eddy Declercq • Andrea Fleming • Amanda Gannon • Stuart Hetherington • Philip Kelly OAM • Steve Lewis • Teresa Lloyd • Peter McLean • Rod Nairn AM • Ian Niblock • Warwick Norman • David Parmeter • Michael Pezzullo • Ian Routledge • Michael Slee • Don Smithwick • Ainslie de Vos • Jeffrey Weber

TEEKAY AUSTRALIA Teekay was established with a clear vision in mind: to become an industry leader. Our Profile Founded by the late Torben Karlshoej in 1973, Teekay has developed into one of the most successful shipping companies in the world. Significant acquisitions in recent years have enhanced the size and scale of Teekay’s fleet and the team that manages and operates these vessels. l We now operate a fleet of over 150 ships - including FPSOs, FSOs, LNG carriers, shuttle tankers, conventional tankers and bulk carriers. l Teekay is serviced by 15 offices worldwide. l And more than 6,000 employees at sea and ashore.

Teekay is committed to being an essential marine link in the global and local supply chain. Teekay in Australia We began business in Australia in 1967 with the acquisition of the shipping arm of Caltex Oil Australia. Teekay has since operated crude-oil and product tankers on long-term charters to Caltex. Teekay subsequently added two Floating Storage Offtake vessels to service the North West Shelf, and in 2002, took over the management of BHP Billiton’s marine operations. In 2005, Teekay introduced the first shuttle tanker to Australia. Recently Teekay entered into time charters with Shell Australia for their domestic shipping needs. In addition to operating owned vessels, Teekay Australia undertakes third party management for a variety of customers including BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Sugar Australia and Australian Government Agencies. In addition we operate two tug bases in Hay Point and Port Hedland, which is the biggest port in the world by volume. An important part of the Australian operation is the provision of marine services, in addition to ship management and operation. As a dedicated shipping company, Teekay can assist organizations that do not have, or have limited accesss to, in-house marine resources. These services include project management, consultancy, superintendency and emergency response support.

We combine the spirit of our people and the breadth of our fleet to bring energy to the world. Our Corporate Culture The Teekay brand has been formed around the core values of service, quality, safety and environmental performance. What sets us apart is our robust operational systems and comprehensive, streamlined practices that ensure operational goals are met. All employees, ashore and afloat, live by our values of professionalism and responsible practice. We are continually focussed on innovation and improving efficiency in personnel safety, vessel performance, response preparedness and customer service. SYDNEY Tel: +61 2 9316 1000 Fax: +61 2 9316 1001

PERTH Tel: +61 8 9212 6500 Fax: +61 8 9212 6501

PORT HEDLAND Tel: +61 8 9173 1655 Fax: +61 8 9173 1518

HAY POINT Tel: +61 7 4956 3355 Fax: +61 7 4956 3365

Contents Foreword



The Writers

he third edition of 25 Faces of Australian Shipping is another eclectic group of just some of the many men and women who make up the Australian maritime industry. This unique series, published by Lloyd’s List Australia, is now in its third year and has well and truly achieved its aim of taking our readers behind the scenes in the lives of many of their peers. For most their record in the industry is well known, but it’s their “other life” which is often just as interesting. In this publication you’ll learn that one of the major players in Australia’s port industry was actually on the verge of becoming a professional clarinettist before opting for a public service career; you will meet a well known shipping executive who was responsible for moving Australia from paper based hydrography charts to electronic charts, and the head of Australia’s Customs and Border Protection Service, who has trekked the Atlas Mountains, the Himalayas and Mont Blanc. Career moves are also interesting — moving from the sport of kings in Melbourne’s horse racing industry to charity work for visiting seafarers, from cattle stations and cane fields to logistics, from

Jim Wilson

Jim is the editor of Lloyd’s List Australia. He previously worked for Fairplay International Shipping Weekly, firstly as a reporter based in London, then as its Middle East correspondent in Dubai, before becoming its Asia Pacific editor in Singapore. In 1999, Jim graduated with a Law and Vocational Legal Practice Degree from the Northumbria University, in Newcastle, England.

Nicole Gooch Nicole commenced working as a journalist with Lloyd’s List Australia in 2011. She is also a strategic communications and media consultant, and has previously worked as a communications officer for an intergovernmental regional development organisation in the Pacific. She graduated from the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) with a Master of Arts in Journalism, and is currently completing a PhD at Monash University.

Publication Manager: Nicole Gooch Sales: Luke Smith Business Development Manager Design & Layout: Linda Gunek Magazines byDesign

Peter Attwater, Publisher Lloyd’s List Australia

the CSIRO to container shipping, and many more. Our writers have done a great a job, and have been staggered as they traced the backgrounds of our 25 Faces of Australian Shipping, who have not only contributed significantly to the industry but have also made their mark in community services, the arts, sport and many other fields. Lloyd’s List Australia is proud to present the third edition of 25 Faces of Australian Shipping.

Peter Attwater Publisher Lloyd’s List Australia

David Sexton

Cameron Boggs

Megan Tran

David is the Lloyd’s List Australia Melbourne bureau chief. He was born in Melbourne and grew up in the small Queensland town of Warwick near Brisbane. After graduating from university he worked as a reporter for several Queensland regional newspapers, including a stint as business editor of The Cairns Post in Far North Queensland.

Cameron is a reporter for Lloyd’s List Australia. He has worked previously for Reed Business Information as an online editor for five construction publications, and then moved to Print21 as an online editor for the print industry while freelancing for numerous finance magazines. In 2008, Cameron graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) from Southern Cross University.

Megan joined the Lloyd’s List Australia editorial team in 2013. Prior to this, she spent four years at News Limited’s Daily Telegraph. Megan has worked in print and broadcast journalism, including the ABC and community radio. She has a Diploma in Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Sub-editing: Stephen Crowe The Write Team Printed by: SpotPress Marrickville, NSW Publisher: Peter Attwater


David Anderson


Anil Bhatia


Tim Blood


Kevin Bracken


Peter Brueckner


Michael Coffey


Tony Cousins


Eddy Declercq


Andrea Fleming


Amanda Gannon


Stuart Hetherington


Philip Kelly OAM


Steve Lewis


Teresa Lloyd


Peter McLean


Rod Nairn AM


Ian Niblock


Warwick Norman


David Parmeter


Michael Pezzullo


Ian Routledge


Michael Slee


Don Smithwick


Ainslie de Vos


Jeffrey Weber

ABN 66 086 268 33 25 Faces of Australian Shipping is published once a year by Informa Australia Level 2, 120 Sussex Street, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia PO Box Q1439, Queen Victoria Building Post Office NSW 1230 Tel: +61 2 9080 4480 Fax: +61 2 9299 4622 Single issue price $38.50 incl. GST

Copyright ©2012 Informa Australia Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the editorial or pictorial content by any manner without written permission of the publisher is prohibited. All products listed in this magazine are subject to manufacturer’s change without notice and the publisher assumes no responsibility for such changes. The publisher’s advertising terms and conditions are set out in the current Advertising Rate Card, which is available to read before placing any advertisements.

Contents – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


From classically trained musician to head of Ports Australia

“We also put the national road transport and national rail commission together then. These measures formed some of the kick-off points under Paul Keating as treasurer, as the first round of micro-economic reforms.”


25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – David Anderson


David Anderson Chief Executive Ports Australia

David Anderson

By Nicole Gooch


think I could probably sail before I could walk,” laughs David Anderson, CEO of Ports Australia. “Some might say it was meant to be. I was meant to end up in ports. It is sort of appropriate I guess, having grown up in Williamstown.” Indeed, David spent the first ten years of his life in Melbourne’s old port town of Williamstown. He remembers running barefoot around the boats on his way home from school each day, and clambering with his brothers onto the 50-foot ketch that his great uncle built in his backyard in the next street. David’s great uncle went to sea at the age of 12 and earned his master’s ticket sailing clippers around the world. He died aged well over 90, one of the last clipper sailors in Australia. So it would indeed seem appropriate for David to enter the maritime industry — except that he took the long way round. When David was ten his father, who then worked for the Navy Department, was posted to Canberra. And as he grew older, David developed a passion for music. “I grew up in a very musical household. My dad played the violin and my mother was a wonderful pianist and singer, so I was always surrounded by music,” recalls David, who played the clarinet. He trained in classical music at the School of Music of Canberra as part of his HSC, and later at university he played saxophone in bands. “It was fun, and I started my Bachelor of Arts degree with the aspiration of becoming a professional musician. But in a rare moment of critical selfappraisal, because we were all young and pigheaded then and thought we were indestructible and pretty good, I realised I was proficient but just not quite good enough at it. I had worked

“We brought port issues up on the public policy agenda, and now port requirements are very much more integrated into planning policies.” hard, but I needed to be just another grade above where I was.” David completed his Bachelor of Arts specialising in modern history, then went on to do another degree, in economics this time, and was recruited as a graduate trainee by the Treasury Department. However, he escaped before being “brainwashed”, and moved to the Department of Shipping, where he remained for ten years, working in various modal areas. Then one day, says David, he had been assigned to a small working group when Bob Hawke asked David Hill, who was then CEO of State Rail, to do the first Alice Springs to Darwin Rail Inquiry. David spent several months in the Northern

Territory, preparing the road costings for the report. On his return, while sitting at his desk thinking he didn’t really want to do that for the rest of his professional life, David received a phone call. It was Peter Morris, who was then the transport minister in the Hawke government. “Peter said to me, come over and talk to me about the inquiry. I did, and we had a chat about it, and as I was getting up to leave, he said, would you like a job on my staff, and would you like to start on Monday? And I said, would I ever! “So I became Peter’s private secretary, as we were called in those days,” says David, who then went on to be

David Anderson – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


“I just don’t think it gets better than sharing time with your family. I might be a bit conservative about that, but I don’t think it gets any better.”

David Anderson at work at Ports Australia.

chief of staff to another minister in the Hawke and Keating governments. “There was a lot happening in those days. In the time I was there I helped Peter with his first round of shipping reforms and waterfront reforms. It was wonderful,” recalls David. “We also put the national road transport and national rail commission together then. These measures formed some of the kick-off points under Paul Keating as treasurer, as the first round of micro-economic reforms. They were very exciting days.” David stayed at Parliament House for about seven years, until he realised that working until three in the morning while his children were growing up was not a great idea. He returned to the Department of Transport, as a “fairly senior bureaucrat”, and in 1995 was recruited by the NRMA as its policy manager. “That had me commuting between Canberra and Sydney, but it was a great experience. That is what really got me into what you might generally call the association side of the industry. And in 1997, I was appointed CEO of the National Road Freight Transporters Association.” David moved back to Canberra and stayed in that position for seven years. “It was very challenging and gave me a very good insight into that side of the industry. I saw how difficult it was to run viable businesses in that sector, and really pushed governments


hard for much needed reforms. It was always difficult to create a good image for that industry.” David then went on to work as transport director to the Australian Local Government Association, then joined the Australian Shipowners Association for a couple of years as its government relations director, before being appointed to his current position in 2007. “First and foremost, what I enjoy about this job is that I have a very good membership and a very good board. And in the association business that counts for a lot,” says David. “We’ve got an inherently good organisation that operates collegially, and we get a lot of support from the members to deliver our work programme. It is a very enjoyable constituency to work for, and I am engaging with them all the time, and that’s a lot of fun, even though we’ve got some very serious issues to deal with.” David says the issues themselves are most interesting, and they are “of national importance, at least in our subjective view”. “At the end of the day, ports are the biggest freight hubs in a country that is highly trade exposed and where one-third of our GDP is generated through our seaborne trade. But we have emerged as a high-cost economy, and therefore must endeavour to ensure that our trade servicing costs are as low

25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – David Anderson

as possible. And that is why we need to work very hard on getting our supply chains working as efficiently as possible.” David says his different career phases have offered him different opportunities and experiences, but working for Peter Morris remains a highlight. “We did have some big national wins which, in a modest way, I assisted with. But it was part of a government that was very focused on structural reform in our economy, so that our economy became more productive.” Likewise, his experience with both the trucking association and with Ports Australia has given David “a lot of pride”, as he has managed them “in a way that has made them very stable, successful organisations that don’t have financial woes and are recognised as effective advocates, and that is in the context of the port landscape changing constantly”. “I also take pride in the fact that when I first came to this job, ports were not a big part of the freight conversation. We brought port issues up on the public policy agenda, and now port requirements are very much more integrated into planning policies.” David has four “wonderful” children — two boys and two girls. “My eldest boy, Michael, has a PhD in engineering, my second boy, Gregory, did an apprenticeship with the Australian Institute of Sport, my first daughter Elizabeth is training to be a teacher

and will finish her degree shortly, and my youngest daughter, Sophie, is in the first year of a science degree. I am very proud of all of them,” says David. He has been married twice, and his wife Sally is “a wonderful second mum to my kids, so that’s worked pretty well”. It’s a stable family environment, and the children come to Sydney frequently. For David, the work-life balance is a matter of planning family activities and “making sure you stick to it”. “It is just simple stuff, like ringing one of the boys and saying, can you come down to watch the Swans play this weekend? It’s about making plans, having a quiet beer after the match and going home and having a home cooked dinner,” he says. “I just don’t think it gets better than sharing time with your family. I might be a bit conservative about that, but I don’t think it gets any better.” David loves sailing too, and laments that he hasn’t done enough of it, but is “determined to get back into it, and I will”. He also enjoys listening to music, “because these days you can listen to music anywhere. I can get a ferry to work and listen to music, and that is great.” ME Half Page Ad 186 x 125 copy.pdf


Reflecting back on his career, David notes, “It is quite amazing sometimes how opportunities just seem to come your way by chance. You think, how did all that series of coincidences lead to this! “I am getting towards retirement age, but I am having such a fulfilling time at Ports Australia, I am not thinking too much about it at the moment.” 30/10/2013



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David Anderson – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


From Poona to Melbourne, sailing across the world

“As a child, I never saw more than a bucket of water in my life!”

Anil Bhatia

Founder and Managing Director Austral Asian Maritime Group By Nicole Gooch


n paper, Anil Bhatia’s entrepreneurship and drive, and subsequent success, paint a formidable portrait of the Melbourne businessman. In real life, Anil is relaxed, self-deprecating and funny. “I am just like the guy next door,” he says, laughing. Except the guy next door probably didn’t become commanding officer of a cargo ship in the merchant navy at the age of just 29, having seen the sea for the first time at 15. “As a child, I never saw more than a bucket of water in my life!”


Nor did he start a business from scratch not long after migrating from India to Melbourne, and 20 years later, has offices around Australia and overseas. Anil was born in Poona, 100 kilometres east of Mumbai. The family moved a lot for his father’s work, and Anil went to seven schools which, he says jokingly, is “probably why I went to sea. That, or to get away from study,” he adds, laughing again. More seriously, Anil says he was ready to get stuck into a career path, and was keen to travel the world. He started his cadetship at 16, and 39

25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Anil Bhatia

months passed before he was allowed his first shore leave. Returning to his home town after an absence of just over three years, Anil says nobody recognised him. He had left a boy, and came back a man. “By the time I came home, nobody in the neighbourhood recognised me, except our dog!” But Anil never looked back. He was hooked on the sea. He later obtained his first and second mates tickets, and got married. His wife, Alpa, came to sea with him, and loved it. “It is one of the perks you get as a senior officer on international voyages

#02 — your family can come with you,” says Anil. And while doing his Masters in Mumbai, Anil’s first child, a daughter named Priti, was born. Both his wife and daughter travelled with him everywhere, including during stints of onshore work in Singapore and Norway, working on insurance quality systems and commercial charter arrangements. Although she cannot remember it now, Anil jokes that his daughter was probably the best travelled little girl in the world at the time. “My daughter would spend nine months at sea with us, come back home on leave and find that she was in a strange place, and was very happy as soon as she went back on board, because that was home for her.” Anil was in command for six years. He recalls his first command as extremely exciting, but also very humbling. “I was very nervous. When you are in command the buck stops with you, and you suddenly realise the enormity

of the responsibility you have — not only a responsibility for property and cargo, but also life.” At 35, Anil and his wife decided it was time to settle down and find a home on dry land for their daughter. “After all our travels over 13 years through the United States, Canada, Norway, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and so on, we actually sat down and made a plan as to where we wanted to settle,” says Anil. “We sat down with a pen and pencil and decided to prioritise what was important for us, and that included social values, ethics… It also

Anil Bhatia

“The risks that you take are exciting, and I still love the excitement of looking at bigger and better projects, looking outside the square.”

Anil Bhatia – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


Anil Bhatia and his family. included driving on the left side of the road, what voltage, all those things! So we decided in the end on Australia. It was quite a protracted decision making process,” laughs Anil. That was in 1993. In Melbourne, Anil took a job with the ship management group ASP, climbed the ranks to general manager of the division, and in 2001 he decided to start his own business under the banner of Austral Asian Maritime Group Pty Ltd. “It was a bit of everything,” says Anil. “We did ship management and a lot of offshore work. We won a major contract working on the Bass Link project, for which we lay high-voltage DC cables between Victoria and Tasmania, as well as fibre optic. We finished a couple of months before deadline!” Anil also set up the Australian Maritime Service, which he says was the first ever towage company to start as a rival to Adsteam. Anil’s towage service began in Melbourne, and expanded to Brisbane within 12 months, at which point Anil decided to sell his shares to Swire Shipping. It was later sold again to Pacific Basin Shipping, and now operates in Australia as PB Towage. Anil is currently a director of Ausport Marine, which the family owns. “We are operating in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, Port Kembla and Newcastle,” says a proud Anil. He hopes to expand next year to Gladstone and Townsville. “And we have another company called Oil and Maritime, based in Mumbai, which does offshore work.” Just “to add a little bit of spice”, Anil has also become involved in the automotive industry. He now owns four mechanical workshops, thanks to an equally entrepreneurial friend. Meanwhile, Anil’s wife, an Ausport Marine company shareholder, looks


after the company’s finances while his daughter, a finance and accounting graduate, also works for the family business. “It’s a family story,” says Anil. “My daughter only joined a couple of years ago. First she worked for a private company, followed by a public company, then a government company, and then went to London, and got all her ambitions out of the way until she finally agreed to work with Dad.” Anil also has a son, who is 18 years old and at university, studying commerce and law. “The highlight in my life is the birth of my children,” says Anil. “That’s when your whole perspective on life changes.” Other highlights include taking command at 29. Anil agrees he could have stayed employed and enjoyed a comfortable life, but he decided to take the risk of setting up his own business because he wanted to feel he was “doing something, having an impact”. However, he says he is lucky in that he has always had his wife’s support; “that makes a big difference”. Still, it requires a lot of courage, admits Anil. “If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have done anything!” he jokes, laughing yet again. “But the risks that you take are exciting, and I still love the excitement of looking at bigger and better projects, looking outside the square.” And while it’s exciting to take a risk and make it work, Anil says what is really humbling and flattering is when, after about 15 years of business, his clients approach him with a request to expand his business and provide more services in other ports. “So it is a very humbling experience. I am feeling very blessed,” says Anil. “And we have amongst our clients some incredible people, and I think the

25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Anil Bhatia

shipping industry is very fortunate to have a lot of very well brought up and interesting personalities, like the ones that we have. Unlike the impressions people in the general public may have of drunken sailors and seafarers, it is perhaps actually the opposite. Otherwise, I am just very fortunate. It’s been a lot of hard work, and also a lot of luck.” When not at work Anil, who misses the sea, goes sailing with his family on his motor yacht. “I now have a passion for motor yachts, and whenever I can I go out on the weekends.” But Anil travels for two or three days a week to visit his interstate offices, and every couple of months to India to oversee his business there. “It is quite a lot of travel, which I have begun to thoroughly dislike, but it is part of the work,” says Anil. “And India is still home. It is where it all began, and who knows, it might even end there!” he chuckles.

“I think the Australian shipping industry is very fortunate to have a lot of very well brought up and interesting personalities, like the ones that we have.”

Australian Government

Australian Maritime Safety Authority

The face of maritime safety

Testing the limits

“I’m pleased to be on the front line. I’m pleased to be back with the introduction of a third stevedore. It’s a period of significant change.” 12

25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Tim Blood

Photo credit Jim Wilson.


Tim Blood

Managing Director/Executive Director NSW Ports Tim Blood By Jim Wilson


can say this, being the managing director of a public company that goes into receivership was one of the most stressful periods of my life,” says Tim Blood, the current managing director and soon to be executive director of NSW Ports, of one of his earlier roles at John Holland. Few people would want to go through that experience once. Tim went through it twice. In 1985, after commencing his career in the early 1970s as an engineer, Tim was appointed general manager of Evans Equipment, which made truck-mounted garbage compactors. Six months later, the company was in receivership and Tim was working for the receiver manager. “I remember very clearly that, on my first day, I found my desk drawer was full of unpaid invoices. I realised then that I’d walked into an absolute mess,” he recalls. He was able to keep the company going for six months but, ultimately, a receiver manager was appointed. And the first demand of the receiver was that half of the workforce be fired. “I recall thinking, ‘Do I go into the workshop and read out the names of the people who are going or the names of the people who are staying?’ What I hadn’t realised was that many people who stayed wanted to be retrenched — they would have got their entitlements and then got another job very easily. Jobs were plentiful back then and many of those who didn’t get retrenched were very annoyed,” says Tim. Ultimately, the situation had a positive outcome. He guided the company until it traded out of receivership and became a very successful business. The company was bought by a listed investment entity, Sift Securities, that later sold out to a construction company seeking public listing, so the Sift shareholders got a very good outcome. “It was very satisfying, especially when Sift Securities came in. It was a vindication,” Tim asserts.

‘After experiencing every aspect of management, Tim realised that he had moved away from being a project engineer, as he was trained, and had instead become a manager in every sense.’ He left in 1988, vowing to put the whole receivership experience behind him, and joined the listed construction company, John Holland, as the group asset manager for engineering and construction. Tim was promoted to managing director of John Holland Group in 1990 after the Australian construction subsidiaries had been sold to the Heytesbury Group and John Holland Group restructured in a workout arrangement with the banks. But by the end of the first year the company was placed in receivership. The US construction subsidiaries had been placed in Chapter 11 administration and the consortium of nine banks exercised their right to appoint a receiver. About $200 million in bank guarantees was outstanding, and each bank

was, Tim says, focused primarily on improving the strength of its own security. “The shareholders lost all their money. It was extremely stressful,” he says. There were also several personal smacks in the face for Tim. “To be the managing director of a public company that goes under means that you cop a fair bit of criticism, even though I didn’t create the problems. I merely inherited them,” he says. To cope with the emotional stress of the receiverships, Tim regularly retreated to his cottage in the country and focused on pastimes such as cutting the grass, watching the kangaroos hop around and enjoying the peace and quiet. Looking back on his time with companies in receivership, he concedes

Tim Blood. Photo credit Jim Wilson.

Tim Blood – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


that the situation was quite a learning experience. He even likens it to going through a Masters of Business Administration in real life. Firstly, he came to the conclusion that a manager must not baulk at hard decisions. “Evans should have cut more staff, earlier, and should have developed a more courageous pricing policy. There’s no point building a product at a loss and then hoping you will be able to put the price up.” Both of his receiverships also taught him about finance and cash flows. He realised that he’d also had a rather extended and brutal lesson in understanding personal limits and in coping with stress. And, after experiencing every aspect of management, he realised that he had moved away from being a project engineer, as he was trained, and had instead become a manager in every sense. “It made me realise how much I enjoyed managing. It gave me a taste for having greater scope. I finished it with a significantly increased level of personal confidence. If I can survive that, then I can survive anything. It set me up to aspire to be the general manager or the CEO of any company,” he says. By now the year was 1993 and Tim was fed up with those aspects of corporate life dominated by lawyers and bankers. And so, seeking a change, he accepted a job that he hoped would take him away from such stress and conflict. And that’s when he began to have dealings with the Maritime Union of Australia. It was August, 1993, and he had joined stevedore Conaust as the general manager of West Swanson Container Terminal, and was enthusiastic for the challenge of working with wharfies. “Wharfies happened to have extraordinary working arrangements that, not surprisingly, they wanted to keep. But their collective behaviour sometimes left something to be desired,” he says, adding that West Swanson industrial relations at the time were at an all-time low. Very soon after joining Conaust Tim had to dismiss a wharfie. The wharfies consequently began a stoppage that extended for over three weeks in total, leading to enormous truck queues into the terminal. “He’d had several written warnings, the final one saying he would be dismissed if he breached his employment conditions, so I felt that I had no option but to dismiss,” he recalls, adding that Conaust senior management staff were “resolute”.


“I recall thinking, ‘Do I go into the workshop and read out the names of the people who are going or the names of the people who are staying?’”

Unhappily for Tim and the management, the dispute was escalated to the Industrial Relations Commission, which found that the wharfie had been unfairly dismissed and so ordered his reinstatement. As it turns out, the union had found him a job elsewhere. “Our relationship with the MUA was very strained,” Tim says, “but after some time and a lot of hard work, wharfies would stop and chat, whereas when I arrived they wouldn’t look me in the eye. I believe I had gained the respect of most employees. I developed a robust but healthy relationship with the MUA. Times were tough and difficult, but we always kept moving forward.” Tim stayed with P&O for several years, reaching what he describes as the pinnacle of his career when he became the managing director, Australia and New Zealand, for P&O Ports. “I had tremendous scope, considerable autonomy and the ability to put my own stamp on the company. As the MD you can absolutely shape the business,” Tim says. He adds that he took “tremendous pleasure” from developing a consultative approach to management, as he did with spending time with junior shipping personnel. It was a great role, which he really enjoyed. Then in 2006, DP World took a significant leap forward with the pur-

25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Tim Blood

chase of the entire P&O Group, creating a combined throughput of more than 50 million TEU across 60 terminals around the globe. “CEOs ought to change every five or ten years. When DP World came, they had a different approach and then I knew it was the right time for me to move on,” says Tim, who saw through the transition and retired from DP World in 2007. Since then he’s had several nonexecutive director roles and also worked on several consultancy projects, including the recent privatisations of ports Botany and Kembla. Tim had developed a relationship with Industry Funds Management and provided operational advice to the Botany Kembla bid team. He was on holiday in the UK when he heard the consortium’s bid had been successful. “I like what IFM stands for — the super funds of many Australians. I was very pleased for IFM. A lot of people had worked really hard and had put in long hours, so it was a very satisfying outcome,” he says. “I was pleased to be asked to be the new MD of NSW Ports. I’m pleased to be on the front line. I’m pleased to be back with the introduction of a third stevedore. It’s a period of significant change,” he says, smiling.


From plumbing to maritime union leader

Kevin Bracken

Secretary, Victorian Branch Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) By Nicole Gooch


“It’s very important to have a healthy shipping industry, and for people to be trained and have the skills to work in that industry, and to feel they belong there.”

evin Bracken was one of the first stevedores employed as a casual on the Melbourne docks by Patrick Corporation, and had been working for barely 18 months when he was one of the first to be sacked in 1998. That night of April 1998, during the infamous lockout when police officers were called to the picket lines at the Port of Melbourne — remains one of Kevin’s most vivid memories. “Police helicopters were circling us, and it felt like the cavalry had arrived, when 3000 construction workers appeared at the end of Anderson Road the next morning,” recalls Kevin. “There were a lot of people at the pickets too, including older people who had joined us there because they felt it was the right thing to do. It was a great relief that the sun came up the next morning, and the police were gone,” says Kevin. Before starting work as a stevedore Kevin had been a trained plumber and had run his own business for eight years, mainly servicing factories around Port and South Melbourne. His last job as a plumber was on the construction of the Crown Casino. But Kevin had grown up in the suburb of Port Melbourne, and spent his boyhood on the piers fishing and watching with fascination the men working on the ships and wharves. “I have always been attracted to the sea and shipping. It becomes part of your life, and a lot of my friends later worked in shipping too,” says Kevin, whose father had refurbished ships after the Second World War. “So when a position came up for a stevedore with Patrick, it was a natural step to apply.” Five years after he was first employed as a stevedore, when the position of secretary for the Victorian branch of the Maritime Union of Australia was due for election, Kevin put up his hand. He has been in that position

Kevin Bracken – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


for over ten years now. “After the dispute there were not as many people interested in joining the union as a delegate, so that’s why I put my hand up, and things just moved on from there,” says Kevin. “I thought it was very important that there be union representation on the docks because without the unions there would be such a huge imbalance of power in the workplace. And so I saw it as very important that our union positions be maintained for people who come after us.” Kevin says what motivates him most is the support the unions received during the picketing by the general community, including people who were not involved in the maritime industry. “I suppose that support from the community made me realise we are all part of it, and we all have to help each other. And we have to band together when something is wrong. It is now incumbent on us to pay back that support we received. We’ve got a moral duty to help other people in need.” In the midst of the terrible dispute with Patrick, what upset Kevin most was that “people were telling lies. I have always been a worker, I have always wanted to do a good job at whatever I do, and the same applies for the people whom I was working alongside, and some of the lies that were told just made my blood boil. “I remember things being said, such as that we earned $90,000 and only worked 14 hours a week,” laughs Kevin, in dismay. “I had my wife and four young children to support, and so things like that really made my blood boil.” So people “stuck together”, says Kevin. “We believed that morally we were right, and we were going to do anything we could to make sure it was a successful outcome for people. And the right outcome. We had great support from the community, from other unions and internationally.” And of course, the highlight was the decision delivered by the Court, vindicating the wharfies’ fight. Kevin believes it was indeed a good outcome. “The company got some of the things it wanted, and we took some cuts to conditions, but we remained on the job. We’ve worked to get those conditions back because it’s vital we have a healthy shipping industry. The good thing is that we haven’t had violence involved in the political process, and that is good for our country. [But being a union secretary] is a stressful role, and it does have its moments,” says Kevin, laughing. “I do miss being down at the port and working on the ships, but you do


Kevin Bracken and his three sons.

“I do miss being down at the port and working on the ships, but you do this job to look after your work mates. The funny thing is that the job takes you away from your work mates. You don’t see as much of them. But that’s what one has to do.” this job to look after your work mates. The funny thing is that the job takes you away from your work mates. You don’t see as much of them. But that’s what one has to do.” Outside work, Kevin’s favourite way to relax is spending time with his three grandchildren. His voice fills with emotion talking about them. His own four children are now adults — Luke is 32, Amy is 30, Ken is 28 and Dan is 26. “I am lucky they are wonderful children and I have a lovely wife,” says Kevin. “They were very supportive through the Patrick dispute. I am a very lucky man to be married to my wife.” Kevin doesn’t regret a minute of any of it, including that dreaded night on the pickets. “It is very important that people do things because it is the right thing to do. It is going to make the world a better place anyway, and we have to stop making the same mistakes over and over again.” Kevin reflects that it is a shame that Australians are not more aware of the importance of the shipping industry. “It’s very important to have a healthy shipping industry, and for peo-

ple to be trained and have the skills to work in that industry, and to feel they belong there.” He is worried too about future challenges that the industry will no doubt be facing sooner rather than later, such as the impact of automation on employment, and he wants to make sure the industry delivers on the shipping reforms. “We would like to make sure that the shipping reform legislation that was adopted last year bears fruit, and that it results in more Australian ships with Australian seafarers on them. It would be fantastic for us to play a greater role in the international trade.” But Kevin has learnt his lessons — the principal of those being, if you want to achieve something you have to be persistent. “You have to persistent at it, be prepared to go all the way, and look at things in the long term. If we are going to succeed in making things better, we have to have a long-term view about where we are going. “And we should be working to make the world a better place.”

“It is very important that people do things because it is the right thing to do. It is going to make the world a better place anyway, and we have to stop making the same mistakes over and over again.”

25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Kevin Bracken

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From violinist to wine grower, via Porsche racing and shipping

“If I can assist someone to become a better person, then I have succeeded as a human being.”


25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Peter Brueckner


Peter Brueckner Founder and Director Powerhouse Logistics

Peter Brueckner

By Nicole Gooch


n the early 1970s, aged just 20, Peter Brueckner left his native Austria for what he thought would be a two-year stint in Australia. His plan was to set himself a challenge, learn English and save some money, after which he would return home. “I thought I would go back to Vienna, find work, marry an Austrian woman and that would be me!” Little did he know. Peter, now 61, did return to Austria, but only lasted a short time. Nothing had changed during his absence — Vienna was as authoritarian and conservative a city as ever, and Peter missed the freedom and beauty of Sydney. So he said his goodbyes once again, but this time for good, and set off on a new adventure to a world of opportunities a million miles away from his European roots. Peter was born in 1952, when Vienna was still occupied by the French, English, Russians and Americans. His father worked in the timber business and his mother was a part-time piano teacher. The couple, along with five children, lived in a 60 square-metre apartment. “There were seven people with one toilet and one small bathroom, and each child played an instrument,” recalls Peter, who learnt the violin from the age of six. “A grand piano was in my parents’ lounge room, which at night converted into their bedroom. But it was great. There was sound, there were visitors, there was music, there was respect for each other — you had to respect one another when sharing a small space, and the same applied to cleanliness. “We weren’t spoilt with clothes and toys because there was no room for storage, but it was a beautiful time and good fun. We thought we were blessed. We came from a very poor family as far as money is concerned,

“I got a scholarship to the Music Academy at 12, and I was supposed to practise about six hours a day. I did about half an hour every second day.” but very rich where love is concerned,” says Peter, who remains close to all his siblings in Vienna. But Peter’s mother desperately wanted him to become a professional musician. “She said I was the most talented of all the siblings, but I was definitely also the laziest of them all! “Life was an adventure for me; it was just so busy all the time. I got a scholarship to the Music Academy at 12, and I was supposed to practise about six hours a day. I did about half an hour every second day. So needless to say, they kicked me out after a year. I guess it was a good lesson in life. I realised I wasn’t going to get away with it by pretending anymore.”

As a punishment, Peter’s father set him up as an apprentice with a friend in the logistics industry. “In Austria at the time, being an apprentice meant you were too dumb to study and simply not smart enough to do anything better,” says Peter. “My father thought that would get my attention, and I thought I would teach him a lesson and pretend I liked it. And I am still doing it 45 years later. Thanks Dad!” laughs Peter. “And that’s how it all began. However, in Austria, if you don’t study it takes years and years to create your own success, because they look at papers rather than knowledge and experience. That’s when I decided I

Peter Brueckner at his Splitrock Vineyard Estate.

Peter Brueckner – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


needed to get experience overseas, find out more about the world and about myself. So that’s when I migrated to Australia. It was the farthest away, and therefore the biggest challenge and the most exciting!” Before he left, Peter’s worried mother wrote down English key words on cards with their German translation on the back. But she needn’t have; Peter immediately got a job with DB Schenker. On his second and definitive trip to Australia, Peter landed in Sydney with, again, no job lined up, but quickly fell in with DANZAS — what is now DHL. “After ten years I decided that, as an Austrian, I had had enough of working for a Swiss company and I took 18 months off,” says Peter, laughing again. He studied martial arts, started playing the violin again and joined a small orchestra in Sydney. He also found great pleasure in occasionally driving his two daughters to school or taking early morning swims at harbour beaches near their Balmain house in Sydney. “I wanted to find out what I wanted to do in life — I didn’t want a job for the sake of it,” says Peter, about his time off. “Eventually I came up with the idea that I had to start working for myself. I had the idea, the vision and the name for Powerhouse Logistics, and the logo came easily after that. It had to be something strong — I am the sign of Leo, blue is my favourite colour and gold is the sun. So that was it. “It all started to fall into place, and that was some 25 years ago,” says Peter.


“I hope that I can still make a difference, somewhere, somehow. I am now embracing fundraising, but it is not just about giving money; it is trying to inspire other people to also give money.” “It was very exciting. All we needed to do, I thought, was have five or seven people on board. I never had a vision of grandeur, not at all. I was a realist. “But I failed because it became much more successful than I aimed for. You can’t call it failure of course. It was a bit of luck; it was also good management because of my European upbringing and a good business partnership with friends within this industry, and to a large extent because of our frugal way of thinking. It was not hard work, it was fun. Hard work is if you are doing something you don’t like.” Sometimes it has been tough of course, says Peter. “And the more you grow, the more you realise that you have an obligation towards your staff. It’s not just you and your family. It is the bigger family. You need to make sure they are taking money home to feed their own families. “And ideally as well, give them ideas, give them passion and motivation. And if I can assist someone to become a better person, then I have succeeded as a human being. And it enables me to sleep at night.”

25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Peter Brueckner

There is nothing Peter would change about his life, except that he wishes he had challenged his teachers more. “I would have liked my teachers to know what Peter Brueckner, whom they thought was dumb and whom they ridiculed, has gone on to become a successful and contented person. I would have liked them to learn that they should try to get the best out of a child, no matter what. “But it taught me that it is important to get the best out of my friends and colleagues. Indirectly my teachers failed me, but they gave me the opportunity to learn something as well. “The highlight of my life now is waking up in the morning and feeling good, because you can only do that if you have a good and successful life, and then you are happy waking up. That includes seeing the success of my two beautiful daughters, which is a massive highlight. And I am comforted by the peace we have in our family, despite my divorce with my wife. The peaceful way we handled the divorce is also a great achievement.”

Finally, Peter cites the first birthday of Powerhouse Logistics as a wonderful milestone — of realising that the business was a success, and the honour that followed later of being invited to join the Institute of CEOs as a chairperson (which he declined because of business commitments). Powerhouse Logistics now has seven offices throughout Australia. It offers services that include import/export, air and sea freight, customs brokerage and consultancy, cartage and warehousing, animal transport, personal effects, project cargo etc. Peter says he is lucky; he does not need much sleep, and is happy working 70 hours per week. But somehow he also finds time for new adventures. He learnt to fly many years ago, even dabbling in aerobatics. Scuba diving is Peter’s latest passion, and he is also the proud owner of a Porsche — until recently he regularly took part in Porsche race days and the occasional rally. He has given up martial arts competitions after one too many injuries, but not before reaching a level which allowed him to teach children, and “that was very rewarding”. But in 2005 Peter “literally stumbled” across an opportunity to purchase a 40-acre property in the lower Hunter Valley, two hours from Sydney. Not only is the property beautiful, says Peter, it also happened to have 17 acres under vine. He decided to call it Splitrock Vineyard Estate because of a large split rock overlooking the property. “My new passion became wine growing and not just wine consuming,” laughs Peter. “I am probably my best customer by consuming most of my own wine with my friends. It is fun. I love the property — it is relaxing and tranquil there. I have it maintained on my behalf, and surrender most of the grapes to the birds, so there are hundreds of thousands of birds doing all the free picking and at

the same time performing aerobatics ‘under the influence’.” Splitrock has, however, also taught Peter to have the utmost respect for nature, after losing an entire harvest in 2008, as well as other hardships with caretakers and staff. “You can not control nature. It doesn’t matter how successful you are, don’t pretend you are God, ever,” reflects Peter. “Always remain humble, and respect outcomes and decisions that are outside your control.” Peter would like to retire on the property eventually. He dreams of having a few dogs, practising his golf and having friends over. Living in peace with nature… But in the meantime, he says, “I hope that I can still make a differ-

ence, somewhere, somehow. I am now embracing fundraising, but it is not just about giving money; it is trying to inspire other people to also give money.” For the past few years Peter, through Splitrock Vineyard and Powerhouse Logistics, has been involved in fundraising for charities, such as Streetworx and The Global Roll project, amongst others. “I can only give so much, but if I can create a vibration of positivity towards the charity’s work in my office and with my peers, then it is multiplied by a huge amount because other people will then do it. And I don’t care what they give, as long as they realise they should, and then pass that attribute on to their friends and children.”

“My new passion became wine growing and not just wine consuming.”

Peter Brueckner – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


From the CSIRO to managing the Middle East Gulf Service for P&O Containers Australia Limited

“There was so much to do in the container business we just got on with it and did it, and that was very exciting.”

Michael Coffey Director

River Heights Trading Consultancy By Nicole Gooch


ichael Coffey, 72, was destined to be a scientist, when he was literally plucked out of the science world and immersed in shipping and containers. Indeed, Michael had grown up in Pymble, on Sydney’s leafy north shore, after moving around during his early childhood because his father was a station officer with the NSW Fire


Brigade. His memories of those days are still clear. “One spent one’s time out and about, all day long. There were no computers, no TV sets, and instead one played cricket and football and rode bikes. Sport was an important part of growing up,” he says. There was, of course, quite a bit of schoolwork. But Michael had always been interested in science, and after finishing school he was awarded a traineeship

25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Michael Coffey

with the CSIRO, which allowed him to study at university at the same time “I worked with the CSIRO in the field of food preservation and the transport division, in North Ryde. It was all about food storage and transport,” says Michael. “We were looking at problems such as bananas arriving overripe after transport to market because of the heat, and we would travel with the goods on trucks and trains measuring airflow and temperature and then provide recommendations to improve the outturns.” Michael had completed his Bachelor of Science at the University of NSW and was working his way up at the CSIRO, when in 1965 the shipping industry approached the scientific research body. They were looking for expertise. Containers were entering the market, but more research was needed to ensure that perishables could be safely transported. “The shipping companies came to us wanting to know how best they

Michael Coffey


“We were looking at problems such as bananas arriving overripe after transport to market because of the heat.” could pack items in containers, such as chilled and frozen meat as well as fruit and vegetables, and ensure they arrived in overseas markets in prime condition,” recalls Michael. So Michael began working on containers, trialling one possible solution after another. “We did a lot of trials. I even travelled around the coast on one ship with a container,” laughs Michael. “It was a lot of fun, but it was also very exciting as it was new and innovative.” After a couple of years, Overseas Containers Australia Ltd offered Michael a job. “I spent the first few years of my career in the shipping industry conducting further trials and setting up systems and procedures for carrying various foodstuffs,” says Michael. “The procedures and practices we set up in those early days appear to have stood the test of time and are still widely used today. It also involved a lot of skilful negotiation, convincing people that their goods would turn out just fine, that containers were safe!” But Michael, who is the first to admit to being more of an “innovator than a maintenance man”, began to feel fidgety. “It was getting to a stage where there wasn’t a lot of innovation to be done, and Overseas Containers suggested I might enjoy a marketing services support role. So I became involved in sales analysis and reporting. An important part of the job was investigating computer systems, which were in their infancy and beginning to take on a greater role in business. And from there I moved into the best part of my business life, managing the Middle East Gulf Service for P&O Containers Australia Limited (OCAL).” Michael wasn’t to know it at the time, but he went on to spend another 17 years with OCAL, seeing through its change to P&O Containers Ltd, and eventually becoming a director of the company. “It was a great time. It was a matter of understanding different cultures. The Arab side of the business was different to the Pakistani side, which was different to the Indian business, for instance,” says Michael. “So you had to understand the people as much as anything else. And I think one matured greatly learning about different cultures. We

also had to work very hard to earn the trust of those we were doing business with. It was a very stimulating and educational few years.” The job meant Michael travelled frequently throughout the Middle East, the Indian sub-continent, Asia and New Zealand, visiting agents, customers and service providers — a role he thoroughly enjoyed. “We worked closely with agents. Trade was developing, we had to get our market shares up and we had to maintain them. We worked very closely with government agencies as well in the interests of developing Australian trade. “But what I loved most about the industry is working with its people,” says Michael. “And there was never a dull moment. There was always something to be done — something new and innovative. We had very supportive people in the industry who were bright and talented, and when new ideas came through, we got on and developed them if investigation proved them viable. There was so much to do in the container business we just got on with it and did it, and that was very exciting.” Michael also joined the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry during that time, and went on to hold the positions of both state and federal president. He has since been awarded a life membership for his contribution to the Chamber’s work. In 2001, after the P&O Nedloyd merger, Michael set up his own consultancy company, called River Heights Trading Consultancy. He has since worked for numerous companies including providing project management services for FreightCorp (NSW Railways) as it sought to transfer the movement, particularly of export and import containers, from road to rail, and now represents some chemical companies. “It keeps me off the streets,” he laughs. But the truth is Michael cannot bear the thought of being inactive. “I am not one of those people who wakes up in the morning wondering what to do for the day.” Indeed, while maintaining a Fellowship at the Institute of Company Directors and being a member of the Logistics Association of Australia, Michael also dedicates a lot of his spare time to a

plethora of charities. He was elected chairman of the Karitane organisation in 2008, a not-for-profit foundation that supports mothers and their babies with breastfeeding, sleeping, behaviour problems and postnatal depression. The organisation recently celebrated its 90th anniversary. Michael joined Karitane in 2000, after a friend had asked for his help in drafting the organisation’s strategic plan. “My friend asked me if I could give him some ideas, and the rest is history!” says Michael. As if that wasn’t enough, Michael is also a board director of Liverpool Catholic Club and Carrington Centennial Care. He was recognised by Rotary with a Paul Harris Fellowship and a sapphire for his involvement in community service while a member of that organisation, and is past president of the Rotary Club of Liverpool West Inc. “It’s just a matter of giving a bit back, and it keeps me engaged with the community,” he says. But Michael’s greatest joy is spending time with his grandchildren. “I have three children, whom I love, but I love the grandchildren even more!” says Michael, who cites his family’s achievements as his life’s highlight. “My wife is a very successful woman — she manages the social work department at the Liverpool hospital, the largest hospital in the southern hemisphere, and is the area director of social work. She is a top lady!” All my children are also successful, adds Michael. He credits their success to his wife. “I was away on business a lot while they were growing up so she took care of the home front.” Looking back, Michael says, “Getting into the container industry was the best thing that ever happened to me. It had a can do attitude which was great.” Yet, the shipping industry was never on his horizon while growing up. “I would never have imagined being in the position I am in now, having lived those adventures. It was not an industry that I had even looked at, and all of a sudden it was there! I have absolutely no regrets. If I had my time over, I am not sure I would change anything.”

Michael Coffey – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


Square-rigged ships, Antarctic storms and ocean swims – all in one day, or nearly

“If you’ve got people you work with who trust you, and you trust them, then you can achieve pretty much anything together.”


25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Tony Cousins


Tony Cousins Managing Director

PB Towage Australia

Tony Cousins

By Nicole Gooch


he affable Tony Cousins, 53, cuts a well-known figure down on the wharves and in the high-rise offices of Australia’s maritime shipping world. And he is the first to recognise it. “At the end of the day, the shipping industry is about relationships, and I love it. I have a lot of friends in the industry, a lot of people with whom I have enjoyed sailing and working very much. And if you’ve got people you work with who trust you, and you trust them, then you can achieve pretty much anything together.” And passionate about his job he is. In fact, Tony describes himself, with much gusto, as a “little round peg — actually, probably more of a little, fat, round peg — in a little, fat, round hole”. That’s in relation to his current position at PB Towage, which he says he loves. “Absolutely love it. I started working for PB Towage in 2008, and it really is me, because of everything I’ve learnt along the way. I was a seafarer first, and a manager second, and now I get to play with boats and manage seafarers.” Tony was born in the Adelaide Hills. His father was a customs officer and his mother a secretary for the Royal South Australian Yacht Squadron. “I grew up in Port Adelaide around the port and ships, and I sailed dinghies, so I developed very early on an affinity, or even a love I suppose, for the ocean, which I still have.” After completing a four-year deck officer cadetship with the Australian National Line (ANL), Tony went on to serve ANL for another six years in its worldwide fleet. He got his Masters ticket in 1989, through the Australian Maritime College in Launceston and not long after that, came ashore. “Looking back, I always thought I would go to sea for a long time — I had always wanted to go to sea and I was very happy in the Australian

“There are four swimmers in the team to do the 20 kilometres to Rottnest Island, taking it in turns. The swim can be hard work, but the after-party is world class.” merchant service. But the day I joined a ship and didn’t enjoy it, I changed it. And the reason I didn’t enjoy it was because my then wife was pregnant, although I hadn’t expected that I would have that reaction. “So it was time for me to come ashore. And I am pleased I did, because now we have a 23-year-old and a 22-year-old. They are both making their way, having been to university, and I wouldn’t have missed being their Dad for anything.” Having “swallowed the anchor”, Tony got a job in Launceston with Conaust Limited, which later morphed into P&O Ports. He stayed with the company for the next 18 years, first as stevedore supervisor, then in senior

management roles in Tasmania and New Zealand. One of his favourite recollections of that time was an “incredible” trip to Antarctica, in 1991. Tony had just come ashore with Conaust, which then held the Antarctic Division contract to load cargo in Hobart onto its supply vessels. He was in charge of loading the vessels when the Antarctic Division decided to take him to Antarctica, as a supernumerary, to review the discharge operation. It remains one of Tony’s career highlights to this day. “It was an incredible trip, and an absolutely incredible place. And that’s a harsh environment, if there ever was one. We got caught in a massive storm in the Southern Ocean, beyond the

Tony Cousins and his partner Janice at Wylies Baths.

Tony Cousins – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


roaring forties — actually, well beyond the forties. We were on a vessel called the Icebird, with about 20 scientists marooned on Heard Island, while the vessel had to put to sea because it was dragging anchor. Now that was very interesting,” laughs Tony. In 1999, he was transferred to P&O Ports’ head office in Sydney, eventually becoming its national operations manager, with 3,000 wharfies and 30 ports around Australia under his responsibility. “P&O Ports was very good to me. I enjoyed every minute of my work on the wharves,” says Tony. “It was a wonderful experience with many characters, and I learnt a lot about the business of shipping and the importance of customer service.” But P&O Ports was eventually bought by DP World, which then began stripping back its general cargo division — Tony’s area of strength — so in 2007 he took a redundancy package, and left. “I worked for myself for a little while, not for very long at all, and then I got a call about the job I’ve got today, from an old P&O contact, which was very nice.” That’s an understatement, given Tony then describes the past five years with PB Towage as the best of all. “We’ve taken something with six tugs to over 20 tugs now in harbour towage, and our job isn’t done yet. And if you take the whole company into account, it is over 40 vessels. So we’ve taken something quite modest and turned it into something substantial, in five years. It has been, and continues to be, very exciting. We have enjoyed a lot of success and considerable growth and, for me, the last five years have probably been among the best.” But Tony has plenty of other experiences he cherishes too. That includes sailing the square-rigged Bounty to the UK for the Bicentenary celebrations. “It took four months and it was an amazing adventure. I was still a very young man but also a professional seaman, and we had 40 people, most of whom had not been to sea before, on board that little sailing ship. There was a lot of fun, but also a real sense of achievement in getting everyone there safely.” He also helped build, and then sailed, a South Australian square-rigged training vessel, the One and All, which remains a fond memory. Tony says he is very fortunate to have had those opportunities, and that is one of the reasons why he has main-


Tony Cousins and members of the PB Towage team. tained strong links with the Australian Maritime College (AMC). “I hope that by the time I finish my career, I will have put as much back into the industry as I have received from it, which is a lot,” he says. “And that extends to training. We are really trying to change the towage industry to not be a place where people finish their careers, but where young seafarers can start their careers. And I think we will be able to do that in the next few years, which will be a significant change, and a very positive one.” Although he doesn’t sail so much these days, Tony still loves being out at sea. “In past lives, I have been a very average surfer and an occasional scuba diver. These days it’s ocean swimming. I’ve never liked chlorine, I’ve always liked the salt water, and for the past five years or so I’ve really developed a bug for it.” Tony and his partner Janice are community representatives on the Trust that looks after the heritage listed Wylie’s Baths at Sydney’s Coogee beach. “That’s a voluntary position, and so when I am not at work, or travelling for work, I am normally at Wylie’s Baths. And that’s a beautiful place.” Most Sundays he and Janice can be found swimming around Coogee Bay or out to Wedding Cake Island, before heading to Wylie’s. They also took part this year in the annual Byron Bay Winter Classic ocean swim, and for the past two years have taken on the Rottnest

25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Tony Cousins

Challenge in Western Australia with a PB Towage team. “There are four swimmers in the team to do the 20 kilometres, taking it in turns. The swim can be hard work, but the after-party is world class,” Tony chuckles. “In a nutshell, what I like about the ocean is the feeling you get while you’re in it or on it — it relaxes me.” Tony says the whole “work-life balance” is a lot easier now that the children are older, although he acknowledges he has “always had a lot of support in that respect”. “I think we are all inclined to work too hard sometimes. I have been guilty over the years of putting my job before myself, certainly, and my family, which is probably not ideal. But I think if you care about your job, and I take my responsibilities very seriously — we have over 150 people working for PB Towage now — you have to be trying your best, and a lot of us are guilty of working too much. “But people who know me will also tell you that I am not averse to the idea of enjoying myself either! I guess that’s where the balance comes from. It’s the old adage — you work hard and you play hard. A little bit less these days, though,” laughs Tony. Had he followed a different career path, Tony says he would still be at sea, but most likely either driving or managing so-called “white boats” — the super yachts of the Mediterranean and Caribbean.

“I think that would have been a very natural fit for me — the mix between hospitality and seafaring. There is a sense of adventure about those yachts, and I love going places, seeing things that I haven’t seen before. So whether it is a country road in the Southern Highlands, or swimming around the headland into a cove or a cave, or walking on a beach that I haven’t been on before, I love that. “I was never what they call ‘passenger ship material’,” Tony laughs. “But certainly a white boat in the Med would have been fine. There is no doubt about that. “But right now I couldn’t ask for a better job, or something I’d enjoy more, because I don’t see how it could get much better than this.”

Forging a strong bond

PB Towage Australia Email: Phone: +61 (2) 9695 0700

From sleepy Kortemark to Sydney’s City to Surf

Photo credit Jim Wilson.

“My mind has always been set on transport; I never really gave any thought to any other possible career.”

Eddy Declercq Managing Director OOCL (Australia) By Nicole Gooch


ike so many others in the shipping industry, Eddy Declercq, 56, says that looking back, he would not have done anything differently in his career. “My mind has always been set on transport; I never really gave any thought to any other possible career. I had detected very early on that a sports career was lost on me, despite a massive passive and active interest in everything to do with sports, especially cycling and running.


“One of the turning points was probably some of the student jobs I took on as a 15 to 18 year old, working in a brickworks and a vegetable cannery. For a youngster they were quite hard jobs with early and late shifts, and so monotonous and boring — definitely not something you wanted to do for the rest of your life, and probably one of the better life lessons they do not teach you in school,” says Eddy.

25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Eddy Declercq

“The only alternative to a shipping career that I might have considered would have been setting up my own business, but that is extremely risky. We tend to get jealous of all the people who are successful in their own business, but we also tend to forget that for every success there are some nine or ten failures that you don’t read about.” Today, Eddy is not only the managing director of Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL), based in Sydney, but also a member of the Board of Directors of Shipping Australia Ltd. It has been a long journey from Kortemark, the sleepy country town in Belgium where Eddy grew up. “Kortemark was a tiny, peaceful rural town, where time stood still. Everything was so straightforward and nothing much ever changed. The major change was children being born and older people dying. The pubs, the shops, the farms and even the products were there for centuries, with the same people running them, and when they retired the children took over the business,” recalls Eddy, fondly.     “And you just lived from one milestone to the next — exams every four months, Easter and Christmas holidays, the annual kermesse*, birthdays and playing with friends in the paddocks around town. There was no fear of drugs, abductions, violence, heavy and dangerous traffic, no pollution. Fear was the last thing on our mind.” Eddy is grateful for such a childhood. “It was more or less a worry-free childhood, without computer games. It was all about outdoor playing and sports, and a bit of homework. What a contrast with the upbringing and childhood of some of my colleagues, such as Fady Hayek from CSCL, who was born in Iraq and had to flee the country as a child. You can’t choose the place where you’re born, but it plays a massive role in your life, and can be very discriminating.” But Eddy had no intention of staying on in Kortemark, and his next step was to the vibrant city of Antwerp and its bustling port. Eddy attended the State University of Antwerp for five years studying a Masters degree in translation and applied economics. It was there he met his wife Nicole, who was born and bred in Antwerp.    “But by that time I was already determined to go for a career in transport, and preferably in shipping, and that is how I ended up in a company called

#08 ‘Eddy has also completed many of the Tour de France stages through the Alps, on his own, just for the fun of it.’    Herfurth & Boutmy, which represented a bunch of shipping lines. I started off in a documentation department establishing bills of lading, taking care of manifests, and then moved on to bookings, to end up eventually in a position as sales coordinator, and finally sales executive.” The Tung family, who owned OOCL, also eventually acquired Manchester Liners, operating between Canada and Europe, and Dart Container Line, between the USA and Europe. On top of its Asia-Europe service, Herfurth and Boutmy, together with Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB), established a dedicated agency for the three services, and Eddy says he was “more than happy to join OOCL in the new agency”. It was an intriguing and fascinating experience, says Eddy. “The international character of the business was very stimulating. In the morning you dealt with colleagues in Asia, during the day with our own business and customers in Europe, and at the end of the day you were in full discussions with USA and Canada.”     But then Maersk started its transatlantic service and asked Eddy to join. He did so from 1988 until 1991, at which time OOCL also set up its offices and Eddy was invited to rejoin as sales manager. “Being able to work for the line I had always admired for its efficiency and quality, without the shackles of the agency and its three masters — the customer, the agency and the principal — was an offer I could not refuse. “It also meant we had to set up an office, a team and customer base from the start, an experience I repeated five years later in Copenhagen, Denmark, when setting up the OOCL office network in Scandinavia. “It was a great experience,” says Eddy. “Not many Europeans travel to Scandinavia because it is too cold and too dark up north, and most people prefer a sunny holiday in the Mediterranean countries.  “After a two-year stint, I was transferred back to Rotterdam as the general manager of OOCL in the Netherlands. With the traditional rivalry between the Dutch and the Belgians,

it was not such an obvious move, but it turned out to be four excellent years. The thing you have to appreciate in the Dutch is their frankness, and straight-shooting, no-nonsense attitude. The fact that we spent a lot of our annual holidays in Holland on the isle of Texel probably helped a bit as well.” In 2001, Eddy was asked to move to Australia and take up the position of sales manager there. He is still sheepish about it. “That was the Valentine’s Day present I put on the table for my wife and daughter Elke to digest on the 14th of February, 2001. I had never been there and had no idea what the country was like.” Nicole agreed on the condition they would live in an apartment — up very high, out of sight and reach of the infamous spiders, snakes and sharks they had been reading about. “But of all the places I have worked for OOCL, nothing beats Sydney,” says Eddy, laughing. “Everyone in Europe was joking that the Australians were so laidback and that I would be out of the office by four o’clock and on my surfboard by 4:30 in the afternoon. But I’ve never seen anyone work so hard as the Australians. Yes, we let steam off once in a while and take some time to relax, but we work at least as many hours and a lot harder than anywhere else in the world.”   There are too many highlights, says Eddy. “But the one that sticks out is the way you can get some remarkable results from teams that work together. OOCL has grown from a minor or medium player into one of the major players in Australia, and that could only be achieved through the cooperation, dedication and new ideas of the teams in Australia and our counterparts in OOCL’s Hong Kong headquarters and our OOCL colleagues in Asia, Europe and North America,” says Eddy. He adds that that is also the reason why he has so much respect for an organisation like Sydney’s City to Surf, which he has run ten times.   “To channel 80,000 people from the heart of the city to Bondi Beach without anyone complaining and without any major hiccup is mind-blowing.” Eddy competed in what he says is

Eddy Declercq

his last City to Surf run this year, although he is now contemplating doing it again, walking, this time to “admire the view”. Likewise, Eddy has also completed many of the Tour de France stages through the Alps, on his own, just for the fun of it.     But his best reward, he says, is receiving on behalf of OOCL various Lloyd’s List Australia Shipping Awards throughout the past decade. Equally, Eddy is grateful for his family’s constant support. “An international career requires some sacrifices, such as when I moved to Denmark and we would only see each other every three or four weeks. Or when I was working in Rotterdam but still living in Antwerp, with a daily commute of 232 kilometres in total. I once fell asleep behind the wheel and the car was a total wreck. Moving to Australia and leaving everything behind was also very hard.” Eddy still works long hours, including on the weekend, while his wife is busy with her own volunteer work, but he enjoys every minute of it. His only concern is that a lot of knowledge, expertise and experience in the shipping industry are currently lost to overseas offshore centres. “Staff need extra training in terms and processes. They know the theory, but not the practice behind it,” says Eddy. “As such, my role as chairman of the HR and Training committee within SAL is important to me. The establishment and further progress of Young Shipping Australia (YSA) is important as well.” * Kermesse, or kermis, or kirmess, is a Dutch term derived from ‘kerk’ (church) and ‘mis’ (mass), originally referring to the mass said on the anniversary of the foundation of a church and in honour of the patron. Such celebrations were regularly held in the Low Countries and also in northern France, and were accompanied by feasting, dancing and sports of all kinds.

Eddy Declercq – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


From the Melbourne Cup to the Mission to Seafarers via Lake Tyers

“When we have happy and sustained seafarers, we have more sustainable, productive and safer shipping.”


25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Andrea Fleming


Andrea Fleming Chief Executive Officer

Mission to Seafarers Victoria

Andrea Fleming

By Nicole Gooch


here’s nothing quite like a small dog leaping on you at dawn to wake you up. And that’s exactly what Andrea Fleming’s dog, Reggie, does every morning at precisely 6:15am. But Andrea loves watching the sunrise — in her complex and busy life, it provides a welcome sense of routine. She may not be 42 yet, but Andrea has already packed in a multitude of successful professional experiences involving, amongst others, the high-flying world of the Melbourne Cup Carnival and prestigious William Inglis and Son. “I am one of those people who wake up in the morning and I look at my diary, and wonder what I have on for the day. Every day is a new adventure, and I couldn’t have imagined that I would end up working with either St Vincent’s De Paul or the Mission to Seafarers,” says Andrea. This from the woman who, barely out of school and queuing dutifully to enrol in a degree in psychology and sociology at Monash University, decided suddenly that university was not for her. She hopped out of the queue, moved out of home, found a job, rented a flat in St Kilda and enrolled in Stott’s Business College in order to gain the skills required to apply for a good secretarial position. Soon after graduation, she commenced work in the legal sector, eventually studying business law at RMIT and working for a renowned criminal law firm. But, says Andrea, “I am driven by a love for people. I am fascinated by people and what makes them tick, and I also have a desire to help.” Andrea has been CEO of Mission to Seafarers Victoria for seven years now, but says she is looking forward to a time when the Mission has sustainable funding and she can spend more time visiting ships.

“Nothing compared to the Melbourne Cup Carnival, and so I made plans to work my way into the racing industry and did just that.” “Obviously, I get to spend a lot of time with seafarers at the centre, but I am constantly thinking of those men and women who don’t get off the ships, although we do have ship visitors, but it is quite often on those ships, with a quiet conversation, that you can really have an impact on someone’s life,” says Andrea. “It can be a very brief conversation, or a very lengthy conversation. Seafarers are lonely, and they like to talk about their families. They will often talk to a Mission to Seafarers representative about issues that they wouldn’t necessarily discuss with their crewmates, an ITF agent or the inspectors.” The reality, adds Andrea, is that it is just like the Ships of Shame report that Peter Morris presented in the 1990s — seafaring is buttressed by fear and intimidation. It is not a fun job. “I feel very privileged to work in an industry that has such an impact worldwide. There are 1.4 million seafarers, responsible for 90 per cent of world trade, and they are humble and hard working, they are endearing and an absolute pleasure,” says Andrea. “I get great strength from every interaction. I have seen mothers and babies reunited with Dad on Skype after he has been at sea for ten months, and that is a great thing. I was also present when there was flooding in the Philippines in 2008, and they were desperate to know that their villages and families were safe. “We are the only industry with its own charities, and I like to say to the

industry, ‘Really sow into the heart of your industry and reap the rewards’ — because the rewards are that when we have happy and sustained seafarers, we have more sustainable, productive and safer shipping. Seafarers are important, they are so worthy of our regard, and our praise. They are remarkable.” Although now totally dedicated to her “all consuming” role with Mission to Seafarers, Andrea started her career in a very different setting, Melbourne’s glamorous advertising world. After resigning from the criminal law firm in search of a new adventure, Andrea applied for a position with the media company Mitchell and Partners, and was subsequently trained as a media planner. “Working in advertising entailed long hours, but also great rewards. I was entertained at all of the major Melbourne events and experienced the Grand Prix and Australian Open, but nothing compared to the Melbourne Cup Carnival, and so I made plans to work my way into the racing industry and did just that,” says Andrea. In 1995 Andrea obtained a position with Racing Victoria, and within 12 months was invited to apply for a newly created position with the Victoria Racing Club to develop the Young Members Program. “This was a membership marketing initiative to attract young members, 18 to 35 years old, to racing. The VRC membership doubled in just two years, and subsequently the new members’ grandstand was built,” says Andrea.

Andrea Fleming – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


“I have seen mothers and babies reunited on Skype with Dad after he has been at sea for ten months, and that is a great thing.” Racing was also full of intrigue, says Andrea, and she loved working with the stable hands and trainers. “It was a diverse mix of people, and I think that is what excited me most.” However, Andrea didn’t like the idea of having to eventually introduce a younger membership to gambling. “I really didn’t want to get involved in promoting gambling to young people, and so when I was headhunted and the opportunity came up to scoot out of there, I took it.” It was 2000, and Andrea accepted the position of state marketing manager for William Inglis and Son. She says she enjoyed working with the breeders more closely and the interstate travel for yearling and other thoroughbred sales was “a real hoot”. During her years in racing, Andrea met Kareene Fitzgerald, the co-founder of SIDS and Kids. “Kareene was a great mentor to me, and when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer she coerced me willingly into starting a career in the not-for-profit sector,” says Andrea. “I took on much of the work she had on her plate as a very hands-on CEO, and enjoyed working alongside her and a close team at SIDS.” When Kareene passed away in 2003, Andrea resigned from SIDS and Kids and took time out to follow her personal interests, which included advocacy work with indigenous activists in Lake Tyers.

“I have always had a real passion for indigenous people. My extended family were cattle farmers outside Griffith, and I remember as a little girl hearing all sorts of stories about the indigenous community there but, of course, it was always troublesome, and when people are perceived to be troublesome I am always interested.” In 2006 Andrea took up a 12-month contract to work with several prominent Melbourne business people in partnership with St Vincent de Paul. The project established a trust fund to support homeless men with drug and alcohol addictions. Homelessness, like seafaring, is isolated and often dangerous, says Andrea. “Many of the men with whom I worked during this time had once had ‘normal lives’, and following certain tragedies their circumstances had changed. I was very challenged during this experience, and humbled in sharing their stories of heartbreaks and hopes. I was also privileged to have an insight into the dedication and challenges of social workers — their strength and their stories were inspirational.” Andrea was then offered a fulltime position with St Vincent de Paul. “However,” she says, “it seemed I had another calling, and that call came from Captain Nigel Porteous, vicechairman of The Mission to Seafarers Victoria, whom I met during that year though an advertising colleague.”

At the Flying Angel Club, Melbourne, for the ANL Maritime Art Awards, with Reverend Andrew Oddy, Jesse Martin and Nigel Porteous.


25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Andrea Fleming

Nigel had a long association with the Mission, and Andrea says it was his passion that inspired her, leading to her taking up her current position in 2007. “The Mission to this day is an ongoing project that each year poses new challenges,” says Andrea. “In 2006, the Mission was in a terrible financial position, and in 2007 the State Government was looking at the end of the crown land lease of the iconic heritage listed building that was built and occupied by The Mission to Seafarers on Flinders Street, in the Docklands. There were, and still are, many challenges.” Outside work, Andrea morphs into a talented poet and illustrator. She is inspired by beautiful gardens and by her friends and their children, and that is a “nice way to express her care for them”. Here is one of her poems: Hero of the Sea The hull is rocking gently it has been like this for days The silence is almost deafening like the beat of endless waves The crew is weak my darling but the spirit here is strong The men have worked for hours and the hours here are long Three months turns to six months, six months turn to nine Whilst I’m at sea my darling, keep your memories close to mine The hull is rocking gently, in a sea so deep and green Like pastures stretched before us that few and lesser men have seen The crew is strong my darling, but their spirits are so weak It is the thoughts and endless yearning of loneliness I speak Daytime turns to night time, night time turns to dreams But there is little rest my darling, until the Flying Angel Flag is seen We can’t say it’s not adventure, we can’t say we’d change a thing For the global trade tides call us, we are the heroes of the sea.




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A Collectors exhibition promoting excellence in maritime and seafaring subjects in art.






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From a passion for exports and new markets to trekking

“Climbing in the dark with nothing but head-torches was difficult, and we really had to push ourselves through it. But the sunrise over Kota Kinabula and looking back on what we accomplished was great and made it all worthwhile.” Photo credit Jim Wilson.


25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Amanda Gannon


Amanda Gannon Sales Manager, NSW Swire Shipping

Amanda Gannon

By Nicole Gooch


manda Gannon, 35, grew up in tiny St George, a town of 2,400 inhabitants in south-west Queensland, 550 kilometres from Brisbane. “Growing up in country Queensland, you couldn’t get much further from the sea,” laughs Amanda. “But my father was the branch manager of a stock and station agency and I suppose seeing him assist graziers buying and selling stock stuck in the back of my mind. It probably explains my affinity for business. It also fits with what I do now, in assisting clients to get their end product to its final destination.” When it was time to start school, Amanda’s mother moved with her children to Brisbane, while her father continued working in the country until they had reached high school. In 2012, a proud Amanda was able to return home with a surprise, having won the Lloyd’s List New Generation Award. “I had to explain to my parents what it is, and its significance, but I think that also helped bring home to me what it meant. It had been an absolute shock for me.” Amanda had always harboured an interest in exports, and particularly in finding new markets for specific commodities. She initially considered a career with Austrade, as well as in international freight and international hotel management. “At school and throughout my university studies I was fascinated by global markets and how other countries work and operate, and was constantly trying to understand how different countries with different cultures do business with each other.” But, like so many other people in the maritime industry, Amanda says she “just fell into shipping”. Straight out of university, she applied for a documentation role with P&O Nedlloyd in Brisbane, and that was the start of it all.

“I can be dealing with the steel and timber industry, with yacht brokers and talking about Christmas grocery orders to PNG, all in one day.” “It was very much a role at the grassroots of shipping and it helped me to realise the power of one piece of paper — how it brings the whole industry together!” Amanda rapidly climbed the ladder in customer service at P&O Nedlloyd before joining Mediterranean Shipping (MSC) in 2002. She moved to Melbourne for 18 months and then spent another year working with MSC in Christchurch. From there she moved again, but this time to Sydney, where she had obtained a new job with the Canadian shipping company CP Ships. Amanda’s breakthrough into trade came in 2005, when CP Ships offered her a trade role with a focus on the American and islands’ trade.

“It was very interesting, particularly since it had a lot to do with the meat and wine industry, which dominates the American trade,” says Amanda. “And I worked with the Pacific Islands too, which meant I was involved in the Australia/Fiji Discussion Agreement (AFDA).” But Hapag Lloyd bought out CP Shipping in 2005 and Amanda decided to join US Lines, a new company that had been established in Australia by a few of her colleagues. “Working for a start-up company was a lot of hard work, but a lot of fun too. All the processes and procedures had to be created from scratch, but that meant they could be the way we wanted; they were not inherited.

Trekking up Mount Kinabalu.

Amanda Gannon – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


“It was exciting. And any little win for a start-up business was always celebrated. We had a great time of it over a short period, and succeeded well in the industry for that particular trade.” However, “as luck would have it”, a colleague then mentioned to Amanda that Swire Shipping had a role going in sales. “It was all a bit daunting. I became one of the youngest female sales managers in shipping in the country. I was 28. In some ways I was possibly a little overwhelmed, but hopefully I have served the company well!”


That was in 2007, and Amanda says it has been the most exciting part of her career so far. “The past six years have been fantastic. Swire has been extremely supportive in training and development, and I really enjoy how my role is a combination of all the areas of shipping rolled into one. It has definitely sealed my desire to stay in the business,” says Amanda. “I love the variety, particularly at Swire Shipping, because we are a little bit different in the destinations we go to, the challenges that we face going to those destinations, and also the type of cargo that we ship. So no two days are ever the same. There is a lot going on which requires a lot of juggling, but it keeps you going!” says Amanda, laughing. “Especially in my role in sales. I can be dealing with the steel and timber industry, with yacht brokers and talking about Christmas grocery orders to PNG, all in one day. The key is to understand our customers’ requirements.” A couple of years ago, Amanda attended a Swire Shipping conference in Papua New Guinea, and that remains a real highlight in her career so far. “PNG is a core part of our business, so it was great to see for myself what market we deal with on a daily basis, and seeing how operations are so different in PNG compared to Australia,

25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Amanda Gannon

how customs work — why there may be congestion at the wharf, for instance,” says Amanda. “It helped me to understand better some of the challenges at the other end of the supply chain. Our customers mostly just know about the container arriving in Port Botany, or wherever it may be; they don’t necessarily see the issues at the other end. “It is always a good education, and having seen it first-hand, you can explain confidently that the potholes in PNG are indeed bigger than your average Sydney backyard pool!” Amanda says she has been very fortunate in her career. “I was lucky to have had those stepping stones with documentation first and then customer service. And while opportunities have presented themselves to me, it is also thanks to some amazing mentors and incredible colleagues that I was able to push myself and be successful.” Finding a good work-life balance in the midst of it all is not always easy, concedes Amanda. “It is a challenge. There are weeks when work does overtake your personal life. And in a globalised world emails are constant throughout the night, so sometimes you might see emails at strange times from a lot of us actually, depending on how we are managing our days!”

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But Amanda is now adept at juggling. She got married earlier this year and is the stepmother of three energetic children, aged 17, 15 and 12. “The children are going through their teenage years, which is always a lot of fun. Again, there is never a dull moment! But I always make time, be it for exercising or spending time with my family. You do make sure you prioritise the time as best you can.” Amanda and her husband Doug love to travel too, exploring overseas or camping around New South Wales during short breaks. They have just returned from a holiday in the United States with the children, which included a much anticipated trip to Disneyland. “It was our first big family holiday, and it was brilliant.” The couple spent their honeymoon trekking up Malaysia’s Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in south-east Asia. “My husband isn’t the type of person who can sit by the pool and sip cocktails. We decided to climb Mount Kinabalu instead, and getting to the summit is something I’ll never forget,” says Amanda. “It was a challenge. It took two days, and as soon as we started it poured with rain for the first part of the climb. On the second morning, we got up at 2:30 am to reach the summit before the sunrise. Climbing in the dark with nothing but head-torches was difficult, and we really had to push ourselves through it. But the sunrise over Kota Kinabula and looking back on what we accomplished was great and made it all worthwhile,” says Amanda. “And the pool back at the resort was well deserved too, believe me!” Back at home Amanda and Doug enjoy cooking too, or “experimenting” to be more precise. “We get a kick at trying different things, and having a go,” she says. “When we were in Vietnam we loved this particular dish — stuffed squid with pork — and I am pleased to say that when we got home we were able to successfully replicate it.” Food also features “fairly predominantly” with the children, for whom Masterchef challenges proved to be a hit. “We try and encourage the kids into the kitchen as much as possible — we’ve just got to work on the cleaning up bit,” laughs Amanda.

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Amanda Gannon – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


President of the Comité Maritime International

“I’m proud, both personally and for Australia — that we’ve made our mark on the international legal community.” Photo credit Jim Wilson.


25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Stuart Hetherington


Stuart Hetherington

Partner and Head of Transport and Logistics

Stuart Hetherington

Colin Biggers & Paisley By Jim Wilson


tuart Hetherington, 62, is a partner and the head of Transport and Logistics at law firm Colin Biggers & Paisley. He is also president of the Comité Maritime International (CMI), an august body that assists in writing, advising upon and unifying maritime law around the world. It’s a sober and responsible position, so it’s difficult to think of him as, in his words, “a long-haired lout” during a period of student radicalism and riots in the early 1970s, when he read for his law degree at Pembroke College, Cambridge. “Students (not me!) threw bricks at the hotel in which diplomats from the Greek junta were meeting. Some of the students went to jail. It was

quite a period of unrest — we were all long-haired louts. There are a couple of photographs, very ghastly,” he chuckles. “I had a wonderful time. We had great parties where you got to meet people from the other faculties, and you struggled to get tonic into your gin and tonic,” he says, smiling. Stuart chose law as a career after reading lots of biographies of leading lawyers, particularly those of the great F.E. Smith — a barrister and politician who later rose to the highest legal offices of the land. Stuart refers to F.E. Smith’s biography, in which it appears Smith made a particular point of being rude to judges. “On one occasion a judge said to [F.E. Smith], ‘I have read your case, Mr Smith, and I am no wiser now than I

was when I started’. Quick as a flash, he replied, ‘Possibly not, My Lord, but you are far better informed.’ “I was inspired by his wit and brilliance,” Stuart chuckles. After law school, Stuart decided to work as a barrister, a decision driven by personal and family reasons. “My fiancée, who was Australian, and I both wanted to come back here [to Australia], and so I went to the Bar as it is quicker to get the qualification,” he explains. He’d earlier been to Australia on a student exchange programme in 1971 for three months, where he’d had a job with the public defender’s office in Brisbane. He worked on a variety of serious criminal trials, which gave him much valued experience. And on that

Stuart Hetherington and his wife Gabriella.

Stuart Hetherington – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


Stuart Hetherington with his daughter Emma at her wedding in Scotland in 2010.


25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Stuart Hetherington

trip he met his first wife, who followed him to London, while he qualified. And so, back in London, Stuart headed off to Gray’s Inn to study for the Bar, where he did the Bar Finals and was pupilled to Alan Ward, who was later knighted and made a member of the Court of Appeal. “He was a great lawyer and a great advocate,” Stuart comments. During his pupillage (a type of training arrangement for junior barristers) Stuart worked primarily on criminal and matrimonial matters. As can be imagined, it was tough work dealing with very serious cases involving people who were experiencing some of the worst periods of their lives. “You really have to learn to keep a sense of humour and learn how to deal with people who are having extreme difficulty coping. It was good experience.” It was tough in London too, in 1974, which was then a very heavily politicised place. The era was characterised by national strikes by militant trade unions, public ownership of industry, national economic planning, incomes and prices policies, unemployment reaching one million, the imprisonment of striking dock workers, and a three-day working week during power black outs. And then there was the appalling phenomenon of stagflation — a combination of high inflation, high unemployment and slow economic growth. “1974 was not a great time,” says Stuart with a remarkable degree of understatement. “Tenancies were very hard to come by for barristers. It was a very depressing and very tough time.” And so Stuart undertook the fiveweek trip and emigrated. It was a long trip then as the Suez Canal was closed — physically blocked at each end and laced with mines as a consequence of the ongoing hostilities from the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Stuart travelled on the Chandris Line ship the Britannis, which at that time was about 40 years old. “My parents didn’t even come out to Australia for my wedding, as it was such a financial commitment at the

time. It was quite emotional to feel that you’d left your homeland. You realised that you’d said goodbye. There’s no word you can use to describe how you felt about the new life and new challenge,” he reflects. However, that feeling was soon to pass upon arrival in the Lucky Country. “We landed at Pyrmont, Sydney. It was very exciting to sail into Sydney Harbour and be welcomed by my new family, my future in-laws,” he says. Stuart wrote to as many law firms as he could and eventually secured his first job in Australia with Allen, Allen & Hemsley, as it then was. “They were a great group of people,” he says, adding that he was the beneficiary of great experience, particularly on one large tax case that went to the High Court. Then in 1976 he joined law firm Ebsworth & Ebsworth. “I jumped at the chance! It was a better long-term prospect as it was a smaller firm with more responsibilities, earlier on. I was keen to try shipping too. My father worked as a lawyer for Shell, so before I left London I had had exposure to P&I and marine insurance. Shipping was an international business, and so I thought it would help give me a global perspective.” And he was right. From then on his life became more settled. Stuart and his first wife went on to have two children in Australia. With Gabriella, his second wife, he has had a third child, Amelia, and through dint of hard work Stuart began the long, slow but steady rise up through the ranks. He was with Ebsworth and Ebsworth for about 20 years. He left in 1998 to found his own law firm in partnership with industry colleague and friend, Rod Withnell. “It was a great experience to be your own boss and not be responsible to other people. We had a wide range of experiences, from being in court to filing in the Registry and doing the mail in the office!” But it was a difficult market and Stuart decided to close the doors when Rod retired to live in the country. However, his current firm, Colin Biggers and Paisley (CBP), were only too delighted to engage Stuart, who then had the opportunity to build a dedicated maritime practice from scratch.

Photo credit Jim Wilson.

“With the Comité Maritime International, you are doing a great service in trying to bring some sense to complex legal issues, which are inevitably treated in different ways in different jurisdictions.” “CBP offered and gave huge help with events and seminars. Clients expect it these days and you can’t do it as a sole practitioner,” he says. “I most enjoy the laughter at CBP — there are some great people here. It’s a lovely workspace and they’re very supportive of my maritime work and the CMI.” A key moment in Stuart’s career was his appointment as honorary secretary to the newly formed NSW branch of what was then the Maritime Law Association of Australia. The New Zealanders joined a couple of years later and it became the Maritime Law Association of Australia and New Zealand. He was ultimately elected MLAANZ president in 1992. When a lawyer joins a national maritime law association, he or she can attend events of the Comité Maritime International (CMI). He later joined its executive council in 2000. “It was a wonderful experience. Did it appeal? Yes! You are doing a

great service in trying to bring some sense to complex legal issues which are inevitably treated in different ways in different jurisdictions,” he explains. In 2012, Stuart was appointed president of the CMI at its conference in Beijing. “It was very exciting!” he says, recalling the moment. Now, in his office, he reflects on what his appointment signifies. “It’s obviously a huge honour. There has never been a president from outside Europe before. It was a huge leap of faith and a recognition that the shipping world has moved east. I’m proud, both personally and for Australia — that we’ve made our mark on the international legal community. What I remember most of my first speech in the assembly meeting is the warmth and pleasure that we received, particularly from other Australians. It was a great experience,” he concludes.

Stuart Hetherington – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


Champion of shipping and containerisation

Philip Kelly OAM Retired from the Board

of the Port of Melbourne Harbour Trust By David Sexton


“It was when I was first entrusted by Gibbs Bright & Co to go down to a ship alone with the mail that I just fell in love with those stately ships, and indeed with those who sailed in them.”


25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Philip Kelly OAM

n theory, Philip Kelly retired a quarter of a century ago. In practice, at the age of 84, Phil is as busy as ever, attending to his many tasks as Shipping Australia state secretary. Add to this his role as chairman of the Committee of Management at the Village Williamstown, and he is one very busy person. An Order of Australia recipient and a longstanding champion of shipping and containerisation, Phil’s story began in 1928 in the inner Melbourne suburb of Richmond. Richmond was hit hard by the Great Depression in the early 1930s, but Phil’s family fared better than many. His father was employed as sales manager in a rope manufacturing company while national and international unemployment soared. “I went to Yarra Park State School and then University High. Entertainment typically involved playing cricket or kicking the footy on local streets, which in those days had few cars. We had a very happy childhood — uncomplicated,” he recalls. His younger brother became a doctor, and there was some discussion about pursuing his own medical career. “I think my father would have loved my doing medicine, but even at school I was sort of shying away from that kind of work and was always interested in ships. It was when I was first entrusted by Gibbs Bright & Co to go down to a ship alone with the mail that I just fell in love with those stately ships, and indeed with those who sailed in them.” As a kid, he had watched the great ships coming and going from Melbourne while on his father’s fishing boat. Then in 1947 he joined Gibbs, Bright & Co Shipping Agency in Melbourne, an Australian agency for Port Line, Cunard, The East Asiatic Company and several tramp ship operators. Gibbs Bright & Co provided a


fascinating role and comprehensive training in ship husbandry, operations, marketing, and ultimately in management. Phil was promoted to assistant manager in the Victorian office in 1963. “In those days — you could call them ‘bad days’ in a way for a ship owner, because they would be in port for three or more weeks at least — it was nothing for them to be on the coast for two months.” Of course, in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s the waterfront was nowhere near as mechanised as today. “As an example, people don’t believe me when I tell them that I came home one day and my mother said, ‘You smell’. I said, ‘That’s horse manure.’ Now people start laughing and they think, waterfront? Wharf? Horses? But that’s what we had — draught horses.” He pauses to reflect on how shipping has changed during the past 60 years. “A ship would do roughly two-anda-quarter round trips to Europe each year. Now some container ships are doing five or six round trips, so of course productivity has improved.” With containerisation on the horizon, he played a major part in merging three agencies into one. “In the meantime we were gearing up for the ‘container revolution’, as you might call it. We had 18 months to do that, but meanwhile, all those conventional ships were still in operation, so those offices needed their staff.” To minimise the impact of the agency mergers, younger staff who resigned were replaced by retirees. “At the end of it all I had not one

redundancy. That’s how we did it — at the end of each day I wouldn’t have to say to 40 or 50 people, ‘Sorry, there’s no job’. I’m very proud of that.” So what were his feelings about the advent of containerisation? “After the first year’s operation, I stated that the advent of the container concept would be more profound and longer lasting in its impact on international commerce than the change from sail to steam. I have had no reason to change that belief. “I think the biggest challenge of all was not the mechanisation of it. We had a pretty good idea of how we were going to handle things. It was convincing the clients,” he says. “There was a very anticontainer attitude; sheepskin exporters and wool exporters felt that their products might sweat in a confined space. “When I told the Dairy Board we were going to have a 26-day voyage from here to London, they didn’t like

Philip Kelly OAM

that at all because in the past they had been enjoying free storage aboard the ship for six to eight weeks. When butter and cheese arrived in Britain it went straight into cool store and extra storage charges would be incurred. They weren’t happy at this prospect.” People in the canned fruit industry also had concerns. “They felt the cartons might sweat, while ironically, the dried fruit people were enthusiastic at the prospect of

“People don’t believe me when I tell them that I came home one day and my mother said, ‘You smell’. I said, ‘That’s horse manure.’ Now people start laughing and they think, waterfront? Wharf? Horses? But that’s what we had — draught horses.”

Peter Bartlett, Dr Hermione Parsons and Philip Kelly.

Philip Kelly OAM – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


Philip Kelly and Roy Lindsay, a former ACTA employee. Photo credit David Sexton.

avoiding manual fumigation. A system was devised in which the fumigant was fed into the container after cartons of dried fruit had been stowed,” says Phil. “It was only when we got into it that we realised we could sell another point — [clients] would have predictability, whereas there was no predictability in the old system, given the chaos and congestion on the wharf.” Although the British Empire was largely a thing of the past by the late 1960s, the United Kingdom still gave preferential treatment to Commonwealth nations, and much of Australia’s key exports were still shipped to that nation. The first container ship to arrive in Melbourne was in 1969. “We started working on plans for it in 1967,” recalls Phil. “There were two companies, both consortia: Overseas Containers (OCAL) and Associated Container Transport (ACTA).” While both consortia cooperated in the lead-up to containerisation, the fundamental principles of commercial competition remained in place. “OCAL had seven original Lines and ACTA had five. We planned, sometimes in parallel but also in opposition, don’t


“There was a very anti-container attitude; sheepskin exporters and wool exporters felt that their products might sweat in a confined space.” forget. While you pooled a lot of scientific research, you didn’t share your clients.” Meanwhile, unions were, perhaps surprisingly, unobtrusive. “They too saw the writing on the wall and realised that it was going to happen anyway,” he recalls. From 1972 Phil spent time on the Board of the Port of Melbourne Harbour Trust, the precursor to the Port of Melbourne Corporation, concurrent with his role with ACTA. Because Board members came from a variety of backgrounds, he remembers his time fondly. “We had a wonderful union man named Roy Cameron, who’d come from the Trades’ Hall Council. He was old enough and wise enough to realise that things had to happen in the name

25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Philip Kelly OAM

of progress. I had 15 wonderful years on the MHT/PMA Board.” Key issues included expanding the port to meet the demands of container shipping. “Our eye was on trade growth and the obligation to cater for it. You had to start planning new berths and the hinterland years in advance. And at the same time, we couldn’t turn our back on bulk cargoes.” While he’s made his name in the maritime industry, it is the decidedly landlocked activity of growing vegetables — asparagus, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, broccoli, tomatoes and cucumbers — which today occupies the remainder of his time. This is not a legacy of the Great Depression, a time when many had to

grow their own food just to survive. Rather, it is something he has picked up later in life, albeit something he’d always wanted to do. “I was previously a frustrated vegetable gardener. When I got to the retirement village in Williamstown I couldn’t believe it — there was all this land that had been set aside for people to cultivate. Most of the residents were getting a tad frail to dig, so I’ve had it to myself with a couple of pals. This is my main hobby, and a place away from my computer to switch off.” Classical music is Phil’s preference, and his passion is the Richmond Tigers AFL/VFL club, a team he has followed for as long as he can remember. “I used to be allowed, twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays, to walk down across the park, from Yarra Park State School to the ground (Punt Road Oval),” says Phil. “One day, I think I was seven, and Constable Dyer [legendary player Jack Dyer] arrived for training in his policeman’s uniform and his bobby hat, and said, ‘G’day mate’, and touched me on the head. I wouldn’t let my mother wash my hair that night.”

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Philip Kelly, circa 1975, at Trans Ocean Terminals (TOT), a sister company to ACTA. Like all Tigers’ fans, he has enjoyed their revival in 2013, providing some welcome joy after three decades in the wilderness. But disappointingly for Phil, the Tigers’ season is over (courtesy of their hated rivals, Carlton) but he is already thinking and talking about 2014. Phil and Frances have been married for 58 years, and are blessed with

adaughter and two sons, seven grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. After 46 years in their North Balwyn home — a home they built almost entirely with their own hands — they have lived for 12 years in the idyllic surrounds of the Village Williamstown, a retirement village which, it could be argued, is incongruous for a man who has never contemplated retirement.

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Philip Kelly OAM – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


From Australia’s Ordnance Corps to Dampier Port

“To me, American football is rugby with an education. It’s rugby, but at least somebody has thought about padding, helmets, giving players breaks, and so on.” Photo credit Jim Wilson.


25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Steve Lewis


Steve Lewis Chief Executive Officer Dampier Port

Steve Lewis

By Cameron Boggs


teve Lewis, 56, never set out to work in the transport industry, but one promotion after another led this former aspiring accountant to be the longest running CEO of Dampier Port. Entering the workforce a day after finishing school as a junior clerk for the Sanitarium health food company, Steve worked his way up to revenue controller in just under three years, and during that time married his high-school sweetheart, Sue. “When I finished school I really thought that I would be an accountant. I was always top of the class in accountancy and it seemed to be a good job at the time. But back in those days you weren’t an adult under the Clerk’s award until you were 27, whereas you got full adult pay straight away if you joined the army. And full adult pay was a considerable amount more than I was earning as a clerk, probably 150 per cent more,” he recalls. As a junior clerk, Steve earned $24 a week, paid 60 cents in tax, and as the eldest son in a single-parent family he gave $12 to his mother, who was supporting his three younger sisters. That is, until the day he got married. “Since my grandfather, father and uncle had all served in the armed forces, it seemed like something I had under my skin. Besides, full adult’s wages as a newly married person was very attractive.” Eleven days short of 20, Steve signed up for the army. Two days later he was at the Kapooka army base in Victoria, and his outback surroundings only passingly resembled the recruiter’s brochure. However, not even the army could separate Steve from numbers, and after three months of training he went into the Ordnance Corps’ clerical field. “When I was looking into joining the army my uncle, who had been a

“When I started in public transport, I was counting money for TransPerth. But I would arrive in a shirt and tie when everyone else had an open-necked shirt, and I had a briefcase.” warrant officer, advised me to start off as a clerk in ordnance because I will always know what’s going on. I took his advice and stayed in that office flow. Throughout my six-year army career, I always knew what was going on, and while a lot of things were happening I never regretted that for one second. “I got to do a lot of exciting things in the army, but all within the context of being in the office. I still got to go out to the rifle range, I got to parachute. But I had that base level knowledge of all of the army’s conditions, entitlements and manuals, when we were going on exercise and when one was coming up. The intelligence gathering was really good!” He can still remember the Doobie Brothers and Supertramp blasting away in the training dormitories, and Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk playing during his parachuting course. Influenced by his mother’s musical taste, this ’70s fan has since moved on to REM, Robbie Williams and Leonard Cohen. “I had three of my four children when I was in the army, all daughters, and my son was born just after I started in public transport. I always worked in a clerical job, but in the army not all clerks spend every day in the office.” Steve’s eldest daughter, Melanie, now runs her own photography business, Amber manages a pharmacy, Kristal was a receptionist but is a now

full-time mother, and Greg works as a mental health nurse. Before voluntarily discharging himself from the army in 1982 at the rank of sergeant, Steve had served in the 1st Armoured Regiment, Special Air Service Regiment and 8/9 Battalion Royal Australian Regiment. As a walking example of how beneficial continual education can be in a career, Steve’s professional advance has run in time with his scholastic selfimprovement. One of his mantras is, if you’re not in an opportunity, you have to be ready for an opportunity. “I always tried to carry myself in my career at the next level I aspired to. When I started in public transport, I was counting money for TransPerth. But I would arrive in a shirt and tie when everyone else had an opennecked shirt, and I had a briefcase. Nobody else I worked with had a briefcase, but I had one. It might have only had my lunch in it. I have always carried myself in such a way that managers and senior people saw me as somebody who can take responsibility. If you aspire to the top, you need to act that way.” “Within 11 days of starting at TransPerth, I had determined that all my skills had come from my army service, and if I was going to get anywhere I needed to get an education. So I enrolled in TAFE for a three-year certificate course in finance. “And in that time I worked my way

Steve Lewis – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


up from the bottom. I counted bus drivers’ money for a while before I was promoted into the corporate office as a revenue controller. I held that role for a short period, and then I went over to the finance department. My trajectory at that time seemed to move over into revenue, then finance, budgeting, and then into capital budgeting,” says Steve. In 1986 he finished his Certificate in Finance, and enrolled in Curtin University to do a Bachelor of Business degree in financial management and economics. From 1985 to 1994 Steve held positions as senior finance officer, senior budget and finance officer, corporate planning analyst and traffic resources manager in TransPerth. He secured the role of business planning manager for four years prior to being selected to join the newly created MetroBus organisation. There he advanced from executive support assistant to strategic development manager, and held the role of deputy chief executive for a year until 1998. “After studying part-time for seven years to get my first undergraduate degree, I took a two-year break from university. When I decided to do my MBA in 1995, I’d been in senior management for some time. “My MBA is the best education I have ever undertaken. It has set and charted the last 15 years of my life. I finished that course in November 1997, and an offer to be managing director came from private sector firm Connex. And I have been a CEO ever since.” It was during the MBA that Steve stumbled across American football. Growing up in a coastal suburb of Perth had left him with an affinity for water and a fierce loyalty to AFL’s West Coast Eagles. But now, when cricket season starts he switches over to the American football season to barrack for the Pittsburgh Steelers, because they wear Western Australian state colours. “AFL is obviously the game that I’ll play in heaven because it makes so much sense — you can score points and goals. To me, American football is rugby with an education. It’s rugby, but at least somebody has thought about padding, helmets, giving players breaks, and so on. “My family are all West Coast Eagles supporters, as was the entirety of the Dampier Port Authority when I first started as CEO. I tried to carry on that tradition for the first couple of years, but then we realised that we had no one to sledge. So I then started to recruit


some people who don’t know any better, who barrack for other teams, and that’s been good for morale.” Looking back at all the years he spent reading the Harvard Business Review, management books from authors like Peter Drucker and contrasting modern material with the fundamental principles, Steve has come to believe people enter the workforce for existence, relationships and growth. “In any walk of life, people want to make sure they’re getting paid a reasonable amount of money so they can live and fulfil their desires and dreams. People want to have that social aspect at work and in society, to feel like they are moving up the ladder of success. And people want to grow as a person,

25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Steve Lewis

in their career and perspective. Every individual has those fundamentals and that all goes back to management theory from decades ago,” he says. “When you’re CEO people talk about it being lonely at the top, and it can be sometimes. You have to have a fraternity of other CEOs — people you can confide in and talk to about things, particularly your strategising. “When I came to Dampier Port from public transport I knew very little about shipping, but a lot about management. The industry in Western Australia embraced me, answered all my silly questions at the start, and I have tried to do the same with new CEOs who start here now that I am one of the more experienced people.”


From a beef and potato farm to naval architecture

Teresa Lloyd Chief Executive Officer

Australian Shipowners’ Association By David Sexton


“I’m very conscious of the pressures we put on the environment, and the responsibility business has to ensure that we don’t stuff up along the way — knowing that you have to look after it or it won’t look after you.”

rowing up on a farm in the Gippsland region of Victoria, Teresa Lloyd knew little of the sea. Yet it is this rural upbringing, with a sense of hard work and of community, that continues to drive the Australian Shipowners’ Association chief executive in her quest to see Australian businesses become players in global shipping. “I grew up in a little town called Athlone, on a beef and potato farm, in what is otherwise a predominantly dairy area. My parents are still on the farm, as is one of my brothers, so in many ways the farm is still home. But it has absolutely no connection with the sea and, as far as I know, nothing in my heritage does either,” says Teresa. Primary school was in Athlone and secondary school in the slightly larger community of Drouin. So what was it like growing up in the bush? “I think it was fabulous, in hindsight. We were always working on the farm and went to a very small community primary school with only a handful of families. Every year we got a week’s holiday to Phillip Island. Otherwise, I ran around in the paddock.” So how did it shape her outlook? “The value from both the lifestyle and my parents and grandparents is, without a doubt, that hard work is what pays off. Farming is a pretty fickle thing, and you are always at the behest of the weather, which is not dissimilar to shipping in many ways. “There’s an old saying, ‘Both farmers and seafarers look to the horizon’, so it was that ethic of hard work and ‘a fair go’ really; certainly, one of the big drivers is ‘what’s fair?’, and not necessarily being driven by anything else,” she says. After high school, it was off to the Australian Maritime College (AMC) in Launceston to study engineering (naval architecture). So what prompted this move?

Teresa Lloyd – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


‘Her love for the sea extends to sailing, participating in the 1994 Sydney to Hobart yacht race. “I came away very bruised and waterlogged; however, the feeling of accomplishment was considerable”.’ “At the time I would have said ‘anything to get away from the farm’. I was busting to be free. For example, I had my driver’s licence by 9am the day I turned eighteen,” Teresa recalls. Launceston is hardly a metropolis, but it still can seem large when you are a country girl. “All of a sudden there were shops at the end of the street and they were open on Sunday. So a move to the AMC was a move to the city as far as I was concerned. I had to basically pack a suitcase, jump on an aeroplane and go somewhere I’d never been before with no one I knew. Looking back, it was probably a good thing to have to stand on my own two feet.” She chose engineering after showing promise in related subjects at school. “I did work experience in aerospace engineering, and coming towards the end of Year 12 it was obvious there were no jobs in aerospace in Australia. So I was at a careers expo and picked up a brochure (about the AMC) and thought, ‘That looks more interesting than a bridge or a road. I could do ships’.” At the time, AMC was one of only two institutions in the country where she could study naval architecture. A four-year degree at the AMC was made all the more interesting by having many people already working as mariners studying in order to upgrade their skills. “I was going through the AMC at the same time as the ratings in the industry who were being retrained. So there were a lot of people from the seafaring community at college being


Teresa Lloyd hiking at Mount Bogong. retrained to become integrated ratings. There were a lot of seafarers around; that was typical of the AMC, and there were a lot of people studying for the marine engineering and the deck officer classes, so we immediately had that relationship with seafarers,” says Teresa. While the degree was intense, with many contact hours and high standards, it also made for good contacts. “For the years when I was getting on and off ships all the time, I was always running into someone whom I knew from college.” After the AMC Teresa enjoyed a fascinating career, with time spent at OMC International as a naval architect, as technical services manager at the Port Hedland Port Authority, and as manager of the Hastings National Demonstration Project at the Environment Protection Authority – Victoria. “I was one of the consultants at OMC International, and at the time the Dynamic Under-Keel Clearance (DUKC) system had been installed at many ports and was going through its next iteration of development. It was my job to verify one of the algorithms (the squat algorithms), which basically is how much the ship sinks towards the seafloor as it sails. “Over several years I conducted a whole series of full-scale experiments, which involved setting up GPS equipment on the ship and sailing with the ship and analysing the data to verify the algorithm that was used,” she enthuses. OMC was in itself enlightening.

25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Teresa Lloyd

“I was working with Terry O’Brien who, of course, is the father of DUKC and who has an amazing mind. Terry sent me to Port Hedland, so there I was, straight out of university, on a plane, trying to figure out how to use all this equipment. “I had a stopover in Perth to talk to the survey company to figure out if we could do this thing, and if we could do it, how we would do it, and then landing in Port Hedland to spend somewhere between three weeks and three months jumping on and off ships. “It turned out that what we were doing was very effective, and I guess the results then snowballed and I spent the best part of five years travelling to a range of different ports doing the same thing, and each port had its own challenges,” she recalls. During a subsequent stint with the EPA in Victoria, she managed the so-called National Ballast Water Demonstration Project at Hastings, on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. “It was the precursor to what are now the ballast water arrangements that Quarantine and the State of Victoria have put in place. It was a demonstration project to prove these sorts of things could be done,” she says. Balancing the needs of many stakeholders from both the public and private spheres made the task challenging. There’s a clear environmental theme in Teresa’s life and having grown up on a farm, she appreciates one can’t take the natural world for granted. “I suppose I grew up in the country,

and I have an affinity for looking after the environment because that is what we are going to have to rely on in the future. I’m very conscious of the pressures we put on the environment, and the responsibility business has to ensure that we don’t stuff up along the way — knowing that you have to look after it or it won’t look after you; if you don’t rotate the crops through different paddocks, then the paddock just can’t keep producing year after year.” Employment in remote locations like Port Hedland has meant working in places where women are a minority. However, this has posed no problems for Teresa. “As long as you are good at what you do, it can almost be an advantage because you are, frankly, a little more memorable! But it’s certainly never been an issue — not on the ships and not around the wharves.” A focus on the goal of a regulatory environment that encourages shipowners to be based in Australia is ever-present. “It motivates a lot of my thought processes,” says Teresa. “I’ve said on numerous occasions to numerous audiences, this is not because we are trying to protect anything or because it is a particular philosophy, but a fair and reasonable approach from all parties is what is needed. Sometimes I hear things described in a particular way about maybe how shipping reform

“There’s an old saying, ‘Both farmers and seafarers look to the horizon’, so it was that ethic of hard work and ‘a fair go’ really; certainly, one of the big drivers is ‘what’s fair?’”

works or what’s behind it, but it’s just not true. I think the truth, and what was behind it, is understood; otherwise these things get hijacked.” A few years ago her love for the sea extended to sailing, participating in the 1994 Sydney to Hobart yacht race, the 50th such event. “It was an amazing experience. There were over 300 boats at the start line with two buoys drifting closer together than they were supposed to be. It was absolute anarchy, and we were one of three boats that missed the ‘gate’ and had to turn around and try to fight our way back into the fleet of boats headed at us,” she recalls. “I think it took us five days to reach Hobart, including he obligatory southerly buster across Bass Strait. “Our trip was not without drama. We had an issue with our fresh water and had to ration it from part way to Hobart, and a cracked boom saw us spend hours leaning against it to prevent flogging in light winds. I came away very bruised

and waterlogged; however, the feeling of accomplishment was considerable. “For years afterwards I longed to sail the race again, but now I’ve done enough ocean racing and delivery trips to satisfy that yearning!” More recently, she and her husband Wayne have enjoyed bushwalking. The Victorian high country is among her favourite places, along with Wilson’s Promontory. But there is now an added dimension to her life with the arrival of her son, Hugh. “My spare time is pretty well taken in just being with him. Prior to Hugh’s arrival we used to do a lot of camping and hiking, which is about getting back to basics. You are focused on things like getting fresh water and necessities such as finding somewhere decent to camp, which might be protected from the wind. You only take what you need to survive, and I think there’s a simplicity to that which is really enjoyable,” says Teresa.

Teresa Lloyd – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


From cane farms to Port Melbourne, via Brampton Island and Cape York

“It is a funny thing — I love cattle stations and farming, but I just adore water and shipping. It’s a real contrast from one to another.”


25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Peter McLean


Peter McLean

Vice-President & Managing Director Cargotec Australia & NZ

Peter McLean

By Nicole Gooch


itting in his Port Melbourne glass office, 55-year-old Peter McLean laughs, as he is about to make the first of many confessions. “I don’t admit this to a lot of people, but I have to own up to being a Queenslander. I was born in Mackay; my family is from Mackay.” Peter was in fact born on a cane farm near the North Queensland town, the proud descendant of a long lineage of cattle and cane farmers. “It’s in my blood, and to this day I still have farming interests in Queensland,” he says. In the ’90s, Peter and a couple of his business colleagues even owned one of those gigantic cattle stations in Cape York, called Strathburn. “It’s on the map. It is one of those things that sticks out even on a map of Australia, because it was over 550,000 acres.” Peter often took his children there, especially at mustering time. “We would employ helicopters as the station was too big to ride horses on, so it was very exciting. And fishing on the river was extraordinary, with masses of barramundi! “It is a funny thing — I love cattle stations and farming, but I just adore water and shipping. It’s a real contrast from one to another,” says Peter. It is not a novel contrast in the family, however. Peter’s grandfather owned a cane farm, but had a passion for boats too. He built his first boat in the lounge of his farm, and had to pull half the house down to get the boat out once finished. Eventually, George Thompson McLean, Peter’s grandfather, better known as GT McLean, ventured off into the tourism industry and created a successful cruise company in Mackay, Roylen Cruises. GT McLean went on to buy Brampton Island, and Peter has vivid memories of his idyllic childhood,

“I have been with Cargotec a bit over five years now, and absolutely love it. I have found my place in life, finally!” growing up on a farm and spending all his school holidays on Brampton Island. But what he now considers his life’s first highlight actually came as a shock, just as he finished school. “I can distinctly remember finishing school at senior level, and I can remember thinking that I had worked so hard that I deserved a holiday,” Peter chuckles. “I remember thinking I was going to go home, and really wouldn’t do anything. So I went home, but my father asked ‘what are you going to do?’ and I said, ‘Well, I am going to have a break, and he said, ‘Well, no you are not. You are going to work, or you

work on the farm’.” Peter remembers exactly how that felt. “I responded to my father that this was unfair. ‘Don’t you know how long I have been at school?’ “Back then, I had no thought about what I wanted to do. I just enjoyed life. And of course, at that age you would help on the farm, so if it was a busy time you would be driving a tractor or doing cattle work, but you also enjoyed life — you’d go out,” he recalls. It was then that Peter realised he didn’t want to work on the farm, “going up and down cane fields all my life”, so his father took him into town and got him a job with what was then the Inter-

Peter McLean – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


‘Peter’s grandfather built his first boat in the lounge of his farm, and had to pull half the house down to get the boat out once finished.’

Peter McLean and his son Nick on a family holiday in Bali.

national tractor dealer in Mackay. “My father took me in there and told them I needed a job, and they said, ‘All right, he can start Monday’. And I thought, ‘My God, that’s terrible!’” Peter worked there for some time, then went to work for his grandfather on Brampton Island, much to his parents’ horror. It was of course lots of fun, but employees could borrow from the island at the bar, against their pay. “And that’s why my parents were worried because, of course, when I woke up and realised I really needed to do something with my life and this was probably not really the future, I left the island and I actually had to pay the island money back!” laughs Peter. “So I was heading towards 18 when


the light came on, that this was all fun but I really needed to do something with my life!” Peter applied to do a mechanical engineering degree at Queensland University, and was accepted, and “that’s when life changed”. He graduated in 1979, having made friends for life among his fellow students. “Life then starts to take a shape I guess,” says Peter. He got his first job as a graduate engineer with Case Corporation, an American agricultural company in Sydney, and was eventually promoted into management. “That was the foundation for my career. I had so many wonderful mentors who took me under their wing, and fantastic training,” he says.

25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Peter McLean

“Having come from a small country town and getting my first job with a multinational, I rode on cloud nine for a long time.” Peter stayed with Case Corporation for 11 years, and completed an MBA in International Business at the University of Queensland during that time too. “It was a great time in my life, but like everything, after 11 years, I got playful and needed something different.” At the time, Peter and a colleague had been tasked with selling off a lot of the company owned businesses in regional Australia — satellite equipment dealerships. It suddenly dawned on them that they should buy some of these companies. They did, and Peter left Case Corporation to set up on his own for

six years, although the idea from the start had been to sell the businesses after five years. It was a successful venture, and after selling Peter took six months off, during which he split his time between his Strathburn cattle station and boating up and down the east coast of Australia. On a motor boat, that is. “I am a motor boat person – too lazy for sailing! “I based the boat at Hamilton Island, Mackay or Townsville, and I did the whole east coast during those six months. My family would join me on board, or friends and I would sail together.” At the end of the year, Peter joined Komatsu as its mining sales manager, and two years later was promoted to mining manager. He stayed in that position for another six years. “I have a track record that, once I get into something, I don’t give up. I am not a job hopper. I like to get my teeth into things and have long-term results.” That was before the mining boom in Western Australia but, under Peter’s tenure, Komatsu won the Goro Nickel project in New Caledonia. However, just as he was starting to feel restless again, Peter found the opportunity to set off on his own, in a new business

venture as general manager for Dingo Australia, a digger manufacturer. Then, in 2009, Peter was offered the position of general operations manager with the cargo handling solutions company, Cargotec. “I had always looked at the big cranes hovering over the ports and thought, ‘Wow, that would be a fascinating industry to be in’,” says Peter. “And I have been with Cargotec a bit over five years now, and absolutely love it. I have found my place in life, finally! “We have taken this company from quite a small company in Australia to a significant player, and in the Asia-Pacific region we are the largest provider outside China, so the dynamics are great.” Peter’s only frustration these days seems to be that, for the first time in his life, he has been boatless for the past two-and-a-half years. “I was okay with it for a while, but I am starting to really fret now, although my wife will shudder when she hears this!” he laughs again. But Peter has good reasons for no longer owning a boat. It’s part of the “big lesson in life” he learnt. “I am a workaholic — or I can be — and I have to tame that some-

how, because it has already cost me one marriage. I put myself through some pretty hard times personally by working too hard. I realise now that the whole time I was doing those wonderful things in my career, I used to tell myself I was doing it for my family, but I was doing it for me. And I woke up too late.” Peter has an adult son and a daughter from his first marriage, with whom he is very close, and he is now remarried with a little boy aged five, Nick. “Even though I still work hard and have a work ethic that is constantly there, no matter what I do, this time around I always make time for the little fellow, and especially now while he is still small, because I learnt a lesson the last time — when I did try to make time for them, they had grown up. “So that is partly why I am not boating anymore. Nick is still too small to enjoy it,” confesses Peter. “He is starting to show an interest now, though!” he adds, quick as a flash. “So for now, I take him to the park or to the snow, and it is a bit like having a second chance. I feel very fortunate, and love my little boy to bits, but maybe that’s to his detriment because I tend to spoil him — or so my wife says!”

Peter McLean – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


Australia’s longest serving national hydrographer

“I wanted to command ships so that led me into surveying, a technical degree with plenty of command opportunities.” Photo credit Jim Wilson.


25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Rod Nairn AM


Rod Nairn AM Chief Executive Officer

Shipping Australia Limited

Rod Nairn AM

By Megan Tran


e caught the bus down from Central station, piled out in front of HMAS Creswell, all of us looking pretty sloppy with various degrees of long hair from the 1970s, and were told we were going to become the new leaders of the navy for the next umpteen years. Over the next couple of days we were fed through the factory for haircuts, and started to at least look like naval personnel.” It’s a day Rod Nairn remembers well — January 13, 1975, when he joined Australia’s Naval College in Jervis Bay as a junior entry officer. It was the role that led to 38 years with the Royal Australian Navy, eight years as hydrographer of Australia, an AM, and most recently, his appointment as the CEO of Shipping Australia Limited. He reflects on the challenges in his new role. “It’s an interesting task because Shipping Australia is a diverse organisation. We represent a number of competing interests in shipping companies, but ultimately what we bring together is the common need for a simple legislative framework in order for shipping companies to operate and be able to, quite frankly, make a profit,” says Rod. Prior to his role at Shipping Australia Rod was Australia’s longest serving national hydrographer, which he describes as “the pinnacle of my naval career”. He joined the Australian Hydrographic Service in 1980, and in 2011 was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia for services to hydrography. “I was able to take the Australian Hydrographic Service through a major transformation, moving us from the paper charting age to the electronic, computer-based charting age. We had to modernise all of our charts and make

“You knew that you would be singled out and picked on for being a ‘warmonger’ in any public street, so you had to have the confidence to stand up for yourself.” them compatible with GPS in order to produce the full ENC series,” he says. Rod’s tenure in the navy was due to one passion — water. “I’ve always liked anything to do with the ocean and the water. I grew up in Sydney’s beachside suburb of Cronulla, swimming and surfing, and had always been a member of the local sailing club. I couldn’t see myself doing anything that wasn’t to do with the water. Adding to that, my grandfather was in the navy in both world wars, and still recommended it as a career.” Rod joined the navy aged 16 at the end of Year 10, straight from Sydney Boys High School. 

“I only got the word that I had been accepted into the navy during the end-of-year holidays. I was working in the menswear department at Farmer’s department store in Miranda Fair. I remember my mum came to see me at work and told me the news. It was a pretty big decision; it meant leaving my school friends and getting my hair cut. That was pretty tough in those years. Everyone had long hair; the only people who didn’t were in the services, and there was a lot of anti-military sentiment about with all the Vietnam anti-war protests still fresh in everyone’s minds. “You knew that you would be singled out and picked on for being a

Surf’s up for Rod Nairn.

Rod Nairn AM – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


‘warmonger’ in any public street, so you had to have the confidence to stand up for yourself,” he says. But he never thought twice about it. “The naval college at Jervis Bay was a fantastic place; it was an idyllic location to wake up, with glorious sunny days and shiny beaches. We’d be up well before the sun doing gymnastics, swimming and compulsory exercises. It was a wonderful place to go to school and a fantastic place to pursue sports. I think I probably played every sport that was offered,” says Rod, who then became dux of the college in the HSC. That gave him the option of choosing his career path. “I decided to pursue a technical skill, not just a general education. I initially thought of studying an engineering degree but I also wanted to command ships so that led me into surveying, a technical degree with plenty of command opportunities.” And indeed, Rod’s first command was as a Lieutenant on the HMAS Betano, followed by HMAS Flinders, a coastal survey ship, and finally, the latest two hydrographic ships, HMAS Melville and Leeuwin. Those four commands are a proud achievement for Rod. “Not many people in the navy have the opportunity to command four ships,” he says. But another highlight is the introduction of the multi-crewing system to allow ship crews a more balanced life. “The navy traditionally had one crew for each ship and sailors have always had a strong sense of loyalty of their ship. However, as hydrographic ships are only really doing their job of collecting survey information when they are at sea, the Leeuwin class was designed for maximum time at sea. So, to get the maximum productivity from the ships whilst still having a reasonable work/life balance for the crews, a strategic decision was taken to have more than one crew for each ship,” says Rod.  His job was to design and implement a sustainable multi-crewing system. “I developed a two ship/ three crew rotation system that would maximise the productivity of the ships, minimise training overheads and provide a better lifestyle for the crews. It was a tough job to convince the crews to replace the old navy tradition of loyalty to your ship with loyalty to your crew, but they came round.” 


“I was able to take the Australian Hydrographic Service through a major transformation, moving us from the paper charting age to the electronic, computer-based charting age.” The system was adopted in 2000, and is still in place today. It’s been a busy life for Rod, to say the least. In 1985 he moved to Cairns, where he was joined by his partner Sue, and they were married the next year.  “As with most navy people in those days, the wedding was just after New Year, as the Christmas break was the only time you could plan to be alongside,” laughs Rod.

25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Rod Nairn AM

The family had three years in Cairns before an overseas posting to the United Kingdom. “It was pretty tough on Sue in a foreign country with two children under two years of age, no family support and me away at sea, but she handled it stoically and kept me up to date with the kids growing up by sending me video tapes. We really treasure them now,” he recalls.

Rod Nairn and his family with the Governor of New South Wales, Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO.

Rod acknowledges his wife’s support during his career, and her commitment to raising the children, although it meant putting her career on hold. And when Rod asked his sons, now aged 24 and 23, if they would consider a career in the navy, their answers said it all. “They said to me, ‘You work too hard and you’re never home’; that was one of those sit-up-and-take-notice moments when I realised that perhaps what I’d been doing had given me great fulfilment and lots of satisfaction, but I may not have been the best dad that I could have been,” says Rod. But he still found time outside work to put to use his leadership skills for the benefit of the local community, when the family was finally able to settle in what is now their hometown, Wollongong, south of Sydney. Rod was appointed president of the Illawarra Grammar School Parents and Friends Association, even if he was initially somewhat reluctant. “I’m not sure what it is about navy

people but they tend to get into situations — whenever someone calls for volunteers, everyone else takes a step back more quickly and you find yourself in a position of control. Perhaps it’s a personality trait. I was dragged almost kicking and screaming into that role, but it was a job that needed to be done. “My eldest son had been to seven different schools by the time he went to high school, so we had been moving around a lot. Getting involved with the school community was important to help the family regain some stability,” he says. Another constant outside work has been Rod’s love of sport. “When growing up I played cricket, soccer and rugby, but I loved sailing and surfing. I still surf. Sailing is something I’ve tried to get more serious about. I had a 470, which is an Olympic two-man sailing dinghy, and I’ve had it ever since I joined the navy. But it was only pulled out of the garage on odd occasions and used infrequently through the years,” says Rod.

“I took my children sailing in the 470 when they were about five or six. The conclusion I came to was that I scared the living daylights out of them, and they’ve never wanted to go sailing since. I lost my crew, and that was probably my own fault for being a little too enthusiastic. It didn’t help that we went sailing in Lake Illawarra, and every time we went in the water the jellyfish would sting them. “So about two years ago I decided that if I was going to get back into sailing I had to go for a one-man boat. I bought myself a Laser and I started to compete. “I was really lucky,” Rod says, smiling. “In my first season I managed to get to the state and national championships. That year Australia hosted the World Championships in Brisbane so I was able to sail in that. It was just so much fun, so much camaraderie. “I think I’ll compete in the Laser as long as I can. There are still people sailing when they’re 80!”

Rod Nairn AM – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


Oil spill response systems, piloting and inline hockey

“I am passionate about the marine environment. Working in it is a privilege, but so is being able to help protect it.”


25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Ian Niblock


Ian Niblock

General Manager Operations Darwin Port Corporation

Ian Niblock

By Nicole Gooch


an Niblock, 57, developed his fascination with ships growing up in England’s New Brighton, on the banks of the Mersey River. He remembers with fondness watching the ships going back and forth on the river, and hearing them whistle deep into the foggy nights. But he was completely absorbed by sailing when at the age of ten his family moved to West Kirby, on the River Dee. “I took to it very quickly. There must have been something in the blood,” chuckles Ian. “That was me, sold on the whole idea of boat sailing, and that eventually progressed into a career.” Indeed, fast forward all those years and Ian is now the general manager of operations at Darwin Port Corporation, and thinking of getting back into dinghy sailing. He misses sailing, he says. “I do get an itch once in a while to go sailing and, short of having an expensive big yacht to maintain, dinghy sailing would probably scratch that itch just fine. And the crocodile risk in Darwin would just make you good at sailing, wouldn’t it? You wouldn’t want to capsize!” he laughs. At the age of 17 Ian applied for a pilot apprenticeship in Liverpool. “It was a fantastic learning opportunity, and for those five years you just lived and breathed pilotage — the camaraderie was great, and we had an outstanding sense of being part of what was a very historic system.” Ian eventually gained his Second Mate’s ticket and began working on very large crude carriers (VLCC) and on a number of ore and oil tankers. As if the sheer size of the ships was not enough of a challenge, part of that time was also spent running up the Arabian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq crisis. “So there was always the challenge of someone aiming a missile at you,” recollects Ian. “We used to try to avoid that happening by steaming at night only, at

“The crocodile risk in Darwin would just make you good at sailing, wouldn’t it? You wouldn’t want to capsize!” probably 15 to 16 knots instead of our usual eight knots, through the middle of all the oil fields on these huge ships. And of course, people were running around on the water without lights — it was really, really, challenging. There were most definitely a few close calls.” Ian completed his First Mate’s ticket and then swapped oil tankers for handysized bulk carriers as chief officer. “Then I remember being back home in West Kirby, and getting a phone call from Blue Star Line saying, ‘Listen, we’ve got a lot of people at college doing their tickets and we are a little bit short at the moment, would you mind doing two short trips for us?’ The first one was around the European coast, which I had always wanted to sail, and the other one was a trip for

three-and-a-half months down to New Zealand and the west coast of the States. I had never been to that part of the world, so I thought, why not?” Ian joined the ship, the Southland Star, in Los Angeles. “We went down via the Pacific Islands, and arrived in New Zealand. The radio officer on the ship was engaged to a Kiwi girl, and she and her flatmate came down for lunch on the Sunday. I was introduced to the flatmate, Suzy, and that’s when the romance of my life started!” “In my three-and-a-half month contract I had three trips to New Zealand, and when I finally left the ship in Los Angeles, rather than go back to the UK I flew down to New Zealand for a holiday. I think I’d been there for about a month when I flew back to the

Ian Niblock overlooking Darwin Port.

Ian Niblock – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


“I was the incident controller at the beginning of the Rena response. That was a really intense experience, working with my old team again, and a great opportunity to make a difference and do something for your country.” UK, put my house on the market and headed back to New Zealand.” In those days it was quite a challenge to maintain a romance while sailing, says Ian. “We had to coordinate a time for phone calls; there were no mobiles or emails! But it was great too — you got into port and there would be a letter from your family and a letter from your girlfriend as well, and that was very exciting, so it was a huge adventure.” Ian completed his Master’s ticket in New Zealand, and came ashore shortly after as by then he and Suzy were married. It was perfect timing. Tauranga Port had advertised for the position of trainee pilot and relieving tug master. “It was fantastic. For the first time in my life I drove tugs, and even though I had done my whole apprenticeship as a pilot, I suddenly got to see pilotage from the opposite end of the towing line, which was a good learning experience, and helped me become a better pilot through improved understanding of ship and tug dynamics.” Ian spent eight years working in Tauranga Port, now New Zealand’s largest port. “It was a great port to work at, with a consistent ‘can do’ attitude.”


But all the pilots worked extra jobs on top of their piloting, and Ian’s role, because of his background on oil tankers, was liaising closely with the oil industry to improve safety procedures and systems. It sparked a new passion, and in 1995 Ian became the national operations manager for New Zealand’s Maritime Safety Authority. “I spent the next five years effectively building the operational components of New Zealand’s oil spill response capability. It was a great job. We trained in excess of 400 people and provided oil spill response equipment throughout all of New Zealand.” Ian then accepted the position of harbourmaster for the Northland region in 2000, and stayed on for “ten great years”. “With 17 harbours on both the east and west coasts of the North Island, the challenges were endless. But with a small tightknit team we developed new systems using the latest technology available. I was lucky in this role, and in the previous role, in that I was working with a team willing to embrace change,” he recalls. It was also a privilege to be piloting cruise ships in the Bay of Islands, says Ian. “It is visually stunning, and it is where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed

25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Ian Niblock

and therefore has special meaning for Kiwis as the birthplace of the nation.” In 2011, Darwin’s harbourmaster position came up. “It is such an exciting time to be working in Darwin, and in the Northern Territory. There is a real challenge here, with a lot of growth in the port, oil and gas and mining sectors. “It is a great opportunity to learn a lot, and also to bring together and utilise all the experiences that I’ve gathered during my 40-year career. I’ve been here for three years now — I am thoroughly enjoying it, and I am now able to see my influence in improved policies, practice and customer service.” Being able to make a difference is crucial to Ian. “That is one of the things that motivate me, so it is great, even in a relatively short tenure, to see how our team has developed and how the port has grown. “I am passionate about the marine environment. Working in it is a privilege, but so is being able to help protect it.” Indeed, a year to the day after Ian left New Zealand, the ship Rena hit Astrolabe Reef off Tauranga, Ian’s old stomping ground. “I remember remarking to Suzy, ‘all those years that I spent in New Zealand

building the oil spill response system and working with everybody, and no sooner do I leave than a really big incident happens’,” says Ian. A couple of days later the phone rang and it was the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), who had been in close liaison with Maritime New Zealand, and requested Ian’s help. “So I was the incident controller for a short period at the beginning of the Rena response. That was a really intense experience, working with my old team again, and a great opportunity to make a difference and do something for your country,” says Ian, by then a proud New Zealand citizen. And no sooner had Ian arrived back in Australia than the cargo ship Eline Enterprise suffered storm damage off Darwin. ”Ethylene tanks were leaking on the deck. We spent the best part of the next month managing the response!” Ian and his wife Suzy have embraced Darwin life. Suzy is a nurse and currently works for the Northern Territory Health Department. They often go for bike rides in the surrounding parks, and enjoy numerous activities in the dry season. When


based in Auckland they owned a 34foot yacht and sailed frequently, until their two children’s passion for inline hockey took over. “I am hopeless on skates,” laughs Ian, “but my kids, Joshua and Grace, are good and were determined to play hockey, so I got quite heavily involved in helping them in their sport, and in managing teams and coaching. I was president of the local inline hockey club, giving back a little to our community and to the youngsters who want to develop a sport. It was a lot of fun. “The kids got better and better. In 2007 they both represented their

Australia’s northern gateway of choice

country for the first time. The Oceania Games were in Adelaide, and it was a huge moment for both Suzy and me when the children skated out wearing their national colours. It was just fantastic to see our two kids representing their country.” But of course, during all this Ian’s poor old boat was neglected. “I probably spent more time cleaning it than I did sailing it. But you only get that good at a sport if you commit to it completely. There were some challenges, but I don’t regret a moment of it. And we made lifelong friends in the hockey community.”

Strategically located half way between Sydney and Singapore, the Port of Darwin is Australia’s nearest port to Asia, the terminus of the AustralAsian Railway and the only port between Townsville and Fremantle with full access to multi-modal transport services. The Port’s East Arm Wharf provides 775 metres of continuous, deep water multi-user berths capable of handling containers, bulk liquids, live exports, general and heavy lift project cargoes. There is also a dedicated bulk materials handling facility with a 2,000 tph shiploader and a 1,500 tph rail dump. Darwin is fast becoming the oil and gas capital of Australia with the construction of a second LNG plant and a purposebuilt world class Marine Supply Base to support and service the region’s expanding offshore industry. With room to grow and significant investment in capital infrastructure to support major projects, the Port of Darwin is ready to meet Australia’s future trade needs. Phone: +61 8 8922 0660 +61 8 8922 0666 Fax: GPO Box 390, DARWIN NT 0801 Australia

Ian Niblock – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


Safety First

“By vetting and by improving the selection process, I’d like to think that we have made significant improvements in the standard of vessels that are visiting our customers’ ports, and ultimately changing the mindset of some parts of the industry.”


25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Warwick Norman


Warwick Norman Chief Executive Officer Rightship

Warwick Norman

By Nicole Gooch


or as long as he can remember, Warwick Norman, 55, has been surrounded by ships and tugs. So there was no escaping it. Warwick was just 17 when he first went to sea as an apprentice deck officer with Associated Steamships. Seafaring runs in his family, and Warwick grew up in Melbourne’s old suburb of Williamstown, once a major cargo port for Victoria. Although now at the height of trendiness, Williamstown used to be a hub of shipping, with piers, slipways, shipwrights, pilot boats and the Victorian Navy. “So I found myself at sea, sailing right across the mixed fleet, although a lot of the time I was on tankers,” says Warwick who, once started, quickly climbed through the ranks. “I was lucky enough to be promoted to master when I was only 30 years old. I was very young in some ways, yet it was not long before I had another fantastic opportunity, of taking up a management role. I was the first cadet to go all the way through to a management role in the history of the organisation,” he says proudly. So, after 15 years at sea, Warwick came ashore in 1991. “At sea, it’s simple in some ways — you know, the sun rises and the sun sets, you have a sense of going somewhere and doing something, whether it be discovering a new port or arriving somewhere at the break of dawn. It is always spectacular; no matter how long one has been sailing you still always get that enjoyment of sailing into Botany Bay or going through the Heads,” reminisces Warwick. “I certainly didn’t give the sea away because I didn’t like going away to sea, but the opportunity presented itself to go into management, and I thought I’d give it a try and I have thoroughly enjoyed it ever since.

“Sitting at the base, as the core value of our work, is improving safety standards.”

“Going to sea was always a fascination in some ways. I look back on it and think, would I have done anything else? The answer is, I don’t think so, and look where it has got me today. It has been fantastic.” Indeed, in 2001, Warwick was working for BHP Billiton when it partnered with Rio Tinto Marine to set up ship vetting specialist RightShip. Warwick was appointed CEO of the new company, and has been in that role ever since. “Aside from my seagoing career, it has been the longest I have ever been in a role, and I am still enjoying it!” laughs Warwick. “Setting up the company was very exciting. It was a huge challenge as we were doing something that hadn’t been done before. We had to create a new business model, which we originally set up to provide services to

the two original shareholders, and then we were able to take the service out to third parties.” But what is most important for Warwick is “making a difference”, through improving shipping safety standards and performance. “We were set up to improve marine standards and to reduce sub-standard shipping coming in to Australian ports. But the ship owners were global companies, and they knew that whatever we did needed to have a global presence — we weren’t interested in pushing substandard vessels into somebody else’s environment, so we had to take a global view from day one, and think about what that meant. “By vetting and by improving the selection process, I’d like to think that we have made significant improve-

Warwick Norman sailing in Melbourne.

Warwick Norman – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


“At sea, it’s simple in some ways — the sun rises and the sun sets, you have a sense of going somewhere and doing something, whether it be discovering a new port or arriving somewhere at the break of dawn.”

ments in the standard of vessels that are visiting our customers’ ports, and ultimately changing the mindset of some parts of the industry,” says Warwick. “People talk about levelling the playing field, and our view is that is what we are trying to do.” Warwick says RightShip is making it more difficult for sub-standard operators to cut corners through non-compliance, and “hopefully it gives those operators who are compliant, and that’s a majority of them, a better opportunity to get a fair commercial recompense for their activities”. It has been a fun ride, says Warwick. “Taking a company of just four people and growing it to 30 people worldwide, and giving people the opportunity to excel in their own areas has certainly been a highlight. We have also done a lot of interesting and exciting things, such as the work we are currently doing in the environmental area, with greenhouse gas emissions and helping our customers reduce their carbon footprint.” But Warwick’s greatest highlight remains being appointed captain, followed by the fact that he was the first apprentice to go all the way through to management. However, “being voted last year the 97th most influential person in the maritime industry, which is a form of recognition for what RightShip has been able to


contribute to our industry, was certainly a career highlight,” says Warwick. And there are similarities between life out at sea and managing a business. Much of Warwick’s time at sea was spent on coastal tankers, “where you are always busy, and it is great. The tankers are in and out of port every second day, there are lots of cargo movements and lots of challenging things to do, so you would only very rarely get what you consider a quiet period,” says Warwick. “Sometimes I reflect that working on coastal tankers certainly gave me the same sort of energy as setting up the business because it was continual change, it was a lot of activity, it was long hours, and what was important was the quality of the delivery of the product at the end of the day. “Even working on the ship, training people, encouraging people, getting people involved — they all relate to running a business. So many of the lessons I learnt while running a ship relate in some ways to running a company.” And life is as busy as ever for Warwick. “Being, and growing, an international business, we spend a lot of time on the road. But if you want to be successful you need to do that. But I try to get a little bit of sailing in whenever I can, sailing yachts out of Williamstown.”

25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Warwick Norman

For Warwick still lives in the old port city, and his favourite hobbies these days include tending his veggie patch, cooking and entertaining. “They seem to be my best tools for stress relief. And I’ve got some fresh asparagus coming through at the moment, so I am trying to enjoy that as much as I can!” Warwick certainly misses being out at sea, but what he loves most about the shipping industry is “the family connection”. “I still have brothers at sea. I still have a lot of friends and others who are engaged around it. And so I still have that passion for it,” says Warwick. “When I stop working in the maritime industry, I hope I will be able to stand back and say, ‘I have made a significant contribution to improving the industry’. I think that is where my passion comes from, and that is what gets me out of bed in the morning, generally, apart from the alarm clock!” he laughs. “And sitting at the base, as the core value of our work, is improving safety standards,” he adds. “We don’t do anything that, ultimately, hasn’t got some sort of flow-on, one way or another, back down to that core value. Therefore I think I have got one of the best jobs in the world!”

From industrial relations officer to managing director, via a law degree


David Parmeter Managing Director Teekay Shipping (Australia) By Nicole Gooch


“You’ve got to be constantly moving forward, you can’t declare victory, you’ve got to be constantly seeking improvements, be it in safety or in finding new customers or new markets.”

avid Parmeter, 55, is a Sydney boy, through and through. “I was born a long time ago, in 1958,” he laughs. “I grew up in suburban Sydney, in Homebush, and through a circuitous route, I have ended up living in Strathfield, which is the adjoining suburb!” David went to school and then to university in Sydney, where he graduated with a commerce degree from the University of New South Wales, majoring in industrial relations. “My father was a dentist, and I grew up in a loving household, the youngest of four. We were always encouraged to get a good education.” Fresh out of university, David accepted a job with BHP as industrial officer at the Port Kembla steel works. It was 1981, and the start of a great adventure for him. “It was a very good experience. I lived in Wollongong for three-anda-half years and made a lot of good friends there. It is a part of my life I look back upon with a lot of enjoyment, but it was also great professional learning curve.” It was a tough environment. “It was a demanding job, with a certain element of ‘sink or swim’, but I think I was all the better for having gone through it,” says David. “I had to learn to deal with difficult people — and that was on both sides of the table, it wasn’t just from the other side. And that was a very good learning experience. “In particular, you had to have an understanding of people’s experiences and be able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. And particularly in a heavy industrial environment, you had to get a sense of what the work was like and what it was like to do those jobs,” he recalls. “I was in an office environment. I am not pretending otherwise, but

David Parmeter – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


At the naming ceremony for the Alexander Spirit with Elizabeth Bryan, Chair of Caltex, who was godmother of the vessel. you certainly could get a sense of how demanding work could be, and the stress that places on people. I think that is something I have been conscious of ever since.” David left BHP in 1984 to work with ANL as an industrial relations officer, initially in Sydney and then in Melbourne. “I lived in Melbourne for two years from 1986. I had just got married, my wife came with me, so it was a fun time,” says David. “But while I was living in Melbourne and working with ANL, the opportunity came up for me to join the Commonwealth Steamship Owners Association, which later merged with the Australian Shipowners Association (ASA). I eventually became its head of human resources and industrial relations, and that was a significant development in my career. At ANL I had been involved in shipping, but when I joined the Shipowners Association, I became involved in issues from an industry perspective, and had a lot of interactions with the different companies in the industry.” David had always had an interest in politics, and through that the role of the unions. “I was aware of the unions, industrial relations and issues around that. It was something I found intellectually interesting — the industrial relations environment then was very different from what it is now.”


“I had to learn to deal with difficult people — and that was on both sides of the table, it wasn’t just from the other side. And that was a very good learning experience.”

This interest eventually led David to undertake a part-time law degree at the University of Technology, Sydney, having moved back to Sydney with the Shipowners Association in the late 1980s. “It was difficult and certainly challenging, with a reasonably demanding job and young children, but it also taught me about time management and about being very focused, and achieving goals and outcomes. When you have an opportunity to do something, you should really follow up on it and do the best you can. “I certainly enjoyed it. It was very stimulating intellectually and professionally, and I think it did me a lot of good as a person as well,” says David. After more than ten years working with the Australian Shipowners Association, David was offered a position at Teekay Australia commencing in January 2002, as head of human resources.

25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – David Parmeter

Teekay had only recently taken over the management of BHP’s remaining marine activities in Australia. “I was open to new challenges, and with the focus in industrial relations moving away from industry regulation to a focus on the enterprise, it was a logical progression,” says David. “I felt very appreciative of the opportunity to join Teekay — it is a great company, and I have certainly welcomed the opportunity that that move gave me.” David says he certainly hadn’t anticipated being in the position he is in now when he joined Teekay. “I am the first person to recognise that I am not a seafarer, and I don’t have an operational background, but there is a very good team of people here who manage the day to day operations. I rely on them, and I certainly feel like I have grown into the role and very much enjoy my interactions with my colleagues.” It is now approaching seven years

that David has been doing this job. “Time flies when you are having fun!” he laughs. One of the highlights of his job has been renewing Teekay’s contracts with Caltex, as it was the acquisition of Caltex’s tanker arm that originally started Teekay in Australia. “We reinvented the historical relationship between Caltex and Teekay and took it forward. That was a highlight.” However, among the lessons learnt, David cites the fact that “shipping is a really tough business; it is literally 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It does take a lot out of the people working in it, there is no doubt about that. “But it also means that when I arrive at the office in the morning, I don’t have to worry about finding something to fill in my day!” acknowledges David. “There is no shortage of things happening! And a lot of that is due to the nature of the industry. You’ve got to be constantly moving forward, you can’t declare victory, you’ve got to be constantly seeking improvements, be it in safety or in finding new customers or new markets.” Teekay is also very much part of the “greater Teekay” on an international level, says David, and as such he values the support of the parent company. “I would also say that you have to be aware of the ways the industry and economy are changing. This explains what Teekay does in Australia, in terms of the diversity of its marine services business. We don’t just operate ships, we do a lot of different things — for instance, we operate ships and offshore facilities that are owned by the parent company, and we operate and crew ships, tugs and offshore facilities that are owned by third parties. So I guess there is a significant breadth to what we do, and we have a very diversified client base.” David says he has been “happily married for 27 years”. And with both children now adults, he is enjoying having more time to spend with his wife travelling and pursuing activities such as the theatre and movies. “With the kids growing up, that took up a lot of my time. The kids played a lot of sport, and I was very involved in that, helping out as best I could. “Nowadays I also try and keep fit — I ride a bike and go to the gym. I like sport. I always like to take some leave when the test cricket is on and go out to watch the cricket. I try to maintain

Inspecting the Ocean Shield, with The Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, Master of the Ocean Shield Captain Jason Britton and Minister for Defence Steven Smith.

David Parmeter and his family on holiday in Chicago in 2010. a variety of interests that allow me to turn off and not think about shipping for a couple of hours. “But you always come back to it, though,” adds David, “although I have found that the older I get, the better I have become in compartmentalising, to some extent. I think if you didn’t have

the capacity to turn off for a little while, you’d find it very hard going.” But there isn’t a single thing David would change. “I have had a very fortunate life and have been fortunate in the way my career has played out. I am very happy with the opportunities life has presented me.”

David Parmeter – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


From Australia’s Defence White Paper to the Atlas Mountains in Morocco

“You get a very real sense of working in the public service and working for the public good. I will always enjoy that — it is the first and most important aspect of the job for me.”


25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Michael Pezzullo


Michael Pezzullo Chief Executive Officer

Australian Customs and Border Protection Service

Michael Pezzullo

By Nicole Gooch


ven as a small boy, Michael Pezzullo, chief executive officer of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, spent time thinking about the world, how nations secure themselves and achieve their national interests, and if it comes to it, how they fight wars. “For as long as I can remember, back to my early teens and indeed primary school, it was just something I always wanted to do,” says Michael. “It was then just a question of whether I would join the defence department, the military services or the police forces. “Not all of the steps in my career were pre-meditated, but I have no regrets about any of them, and they have all given me a diverse experience base from which to draw. I was always determined to succeed, but I was also willing to make the effort and commit to the hard work as well.” Michael’s parents migrated to Australia from rural Italy, where for centuries his family had lived off the land. “No connections to defence strategy there,” laughs Michael. But, straight out of the University of Sydney, Michael moved to Canberra to begin as a young graduate in the Department of Defence. It was 1987. “I was always interested in a government career and in a career in public service, and that was 26 and a half years ago! So it has been a long time, and over half my life has been spent in Canberra, but it has been great.” It was a very different world when Michael started work in the nation’s capital. The Soviet Union was still in existence, Australia was of course a firm ally of the United States, and President Mikhaïl Gorbachev had just come to power the year before. It was “a very heady time of strategic ambiguity and strategic complexity”.

“I have enjoyed all our treks so far — my wife and I have been to the European Alps, around Mont Blanc, the Andes in Peru and the Himalayas in Nepal.”

“The Soviet Union was attempting to change. Mr Gorbachev undertook some changes, and others he didn’t. Those first five years of my career were spent at the tail end of the cold war, which a lot of people have now forgotten about. Certainly for our young graduates, and people of the age of my children, for them it was so long ago it might as well be a thousand years ago,” says Michael. “But I worked on the US-Australian alliance, and in particular our military and intelligence relationship, and it was fascinating.” In 1992, Michael worked in the Prime Minister’s department on inter-

national economic matters, and particularly the formation of what is today known as the APEC Leaders Summit. “APEC had been in existence for a few years prior to that, and in 1992 there was an initiative, which Australia helped to drive, to have the leaders of APEC, such as the President of the United States, the President of China, the President of Indonesia and others, all congregate once a year for the APEC annual leaders’ summit. And I was a junior policy officer on the taskforce that worked on that initiative,” says Michael. About a year later, in 1993, Michael joined the staff of the Foreign

Michael Pezzullo and his wife trekking in Nepal.

Michael Pezzullo – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


Minister, who was then the Honourable Gareth Evans. He worked in his office until 1996, specialising in both international trade and international security matters. “It was a great honour to work for the Foreign Minister of Australia, obviously. And then I spent a few years working for Mr Beazley, who was by that stage Leader of the Opposition, and I worked on his private staff, principally on national security and foreign policy matters. “In 2001, I went back to Defence, as an officer in the senior executive ser-

“At the tail end of the cold war, I worked on the US-Australian alliance, and in particular our military and intelligence relationship, and it was fascinating.”

vice, and I had a series of jobs throughout the 2000s that took me from heading up the infrastructure and property division to heading up the ministerial

Michael Pezzullo and his wife.


25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Michael Pezzullo

media and coordination division. In 2005 I was appointed deputy secretary of the department, where I was put in charge of strategy. “I did that from early 2006 until early 2008, and after Mr Rudd came to office I was put in charge, as lead official, of the Defence White Paper drafting process.” For the year to May 2009, Michael worked on what is now known as the Defence White Paper 2009, which sets Australia’s defence policy and strategy for the next 20 years. “It meant getting agreement across the government for both the defence strategy and also the budget and capability investment plans that emerged from that process.” Michael is extremely proud of that achievement, although he adds, “You always work with your team — you are only ever as good as the team you have built around you. And I had a very good team working with me on that.” Leading the Defence White Paper process will always remain a highlight

for Michael. “Particularly for someone who joined the Defence Department as a graduate, it was a real thrill 20 years later to be put in charge of writing the defence strategy for the whole organisation.” Michael’s second career highlight is being appointed as the CEO of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service in February this year, having joined the agency in 2009 as chief operating officer. “Being responsible for Australia’s border protection function, but also our customs function, to ensure the economic prospects of the country through an efficient border, I have to say that’s a highlight as well.” For what Michael loves most about his work is “the ability to genuinely make a difference and contribute to Australia’s prosperity and security. You get a very real sense of working in the public service and working for the public good. I will always enjoy that — it is the first and most important aspect of the job for me.” But, says Michael, in a very close second position comes working with his team, “leading and sharing with them my enthusiasm and passion for the public duty that we perform. In this service, the public duty in question concerns the country’s security, because it is about border protection, but it is also about our economic prosperity, so the efficiency with which our ports or airports work is very much part and parcel of our economic

prosperity, as well as our national competitiveness.” Since working with the Customs and Border Protection Service, Michael has also enjoyed learning more about the “commercial side of the business”. As chief executive officer he drove the draft process of the Blueprint for Reform, 2013-2018, and kicked it off on day one of stepping into the job of acting CEO in September 2012. “We are putting into place a major programme of change. The maritime supply chain has to be protected so that you are not getting narcotics and

weapons illegally entering the country, but it also has to be expedited so that you don’t have goods sitting on wharves. And that’s the trick of the job — to get that balance right.” Michael is equally proud, however, of having a marriage that has already spanned 24 years, and having “four beautiful children”. Any spare time he has is spent with his family, and reading. Or climbing mountains. “My wife and I like trekking overseas in mountain ranges. It is a passion we have developed in recent years,” says Michael. “The last trek we did was in Morocco; we trekked the Atlas Mountains. I have enjoyed all our treks so far — we have been to the European Alps, around Mont Blanc, the Andes in Peru and the Himalayas in Nepal.” Both Michael and his wife are busy professionals, but once they commit to a new trek, that’s it, he says. “You have to do a lot of preparation, and make sure that you really keep your fitness and endurance levels up. Between treks I try to keep fit by exercising every day, and if I fall behind a bit, I have to do a massive catch-up. As we get closer in time to the trek, we do a lot of hiking, as well as a lot of climbing stairs and hills around Canberra. But really, the best way to prepare for a trek is to just walk. I do a lot of walking!” laughs Michael. “Trekking is a great way to get away from everything too, particularly when you are out of phone range — that is wonderful. And Canberra is the perfect city in which to train for it.”

Michael Pezzullo – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


Containers for business and containers for charity

“It is a special type of people who understand shipping — they’ve got it in their blood and understand it.”


25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Ian Routledge


Ian Routledge Vice-President Asia Pacific Raffles Lease

Ian Routledge

By Nicole Gooch


eneath the quietly spoken persona of Ian Routledge is a man driven by a passion for travel and for new experiences. By the age of 18, having grown up in West London, Ian had no idea what work he wanted to do, but one thing was for sure — it was going to take him overseas. So, having not long finished school, Ian applied for a job with Sea Containers. “I had no idea what Sea Containers was, or what shipping was all about, but it sounded quite interesting. In those days it was a fairly small company, maybe 100 people, and it was run by an American, Jim Sherwood. He was one of the first to see a great future in shipping containers.” It was the start of it all for Ian. He stayed with the company for nearly 40 years, before accepting the position of vice-president, Asia Pacific, with Raffles Lease early this year. “I started as sales assistant for the Americas, and I was with them in London for about 18 months. In those days the container market was very small, but growing.” A cunning Sherwood was selling a package deal of a container ship, a container crane and containers as a one-stop shop, explains Ian. However, after 18 months, Ian’s itchy feet had only grown itchier, and he was contemplating migrating to Australia. But Sea Containers got wind of this and, rather than losing Ian, they promptly sent him to Madrid. “I moved to Madrid and worked there for two years. It was very interesting. I went to night school in Madrid and learnt how to speak Spanish. It was quite an adventure.” Halfway through his tenure Ian also married; “an Australian, surprisingly enough”, he adds, laughing. They had met in London. They eventually moved back to the UK, and Ian was made responsible for

“It was a real buzz to be in the midst of a big growth and change period in Asia.” business in the Mediterranean, before being appointed sales director for Asia, based in Hong Kong. “It was a whole new experience at the centre of the Asian boom period, and Hong Kong was a vibrant place to live.” But after four years, Sea Containers decided that Asia was too big to manage from Hong Kong solely, and the real growth area was north Asia, so Ian was moved to Tokyo to look after the region’s booming business. Ian’s eldest son was born in Hong Kong, while his other two sons were born in Japan. “I had three boys under the age of five in Tokyo, and it was a great place for them to grow up,” he recalls. Ian loved working in Japan too. “In those days there were six major shipping lines in Japan, and several smaller lines. More than 50 per cent of all the container production was in Japan. It was a big export market, and its neighbour, Korea, also had a container market that was growing faster than Japan. It was a real buzz to be in the midst of a

big growth and change period in Asia.” Four years later, the family finally moved to Australia. “We had to make a decision, at the end of those four years in Japan, whether we were going to bring the children up in Asia, or whether we were going to move somewhere else to educate them. Also, having spent eight years in Asia, it was time to move on to something else. So that is when we moved down to Sydney, where Sea Containers had an office,” says Ian. “I had never lived in Australia before, so for me it was a new experience. Now it is my country, and there is no better place to live and bring up children.” Ian was marketing director, Australasia, for Sea Containers from 1985 until 1991, before becoming managing director of Australia Sea Containers. “We built up the domestic container leasing business, which at its peak was about 15,000 containers. We were pretty much the first ones to start in Australia, and others followed after us.” Sea Containers was also involved in the ferry, rail and hotel business

Ian Routledge and his friends packing the latest shipment for Aid for Africa Down Under.

Ian Routledge – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


worldwide, and in Australia they became involved in a cargo vessel operation between Geelong and Stanley in Tasmania, a fast ferry service between Melbourne and Tasmania, a reefer forwarding business, Cooltainers, based in Christchurch, and various container depots and reefer servicing businesses in Australia and New Zealand. On the hotel side they purchased The Observatory Hotel in Sydney and Lillianfels in the Blue Mountains. “It was a great experience dealing with each of these businesses as they were totally different from the container business but the same principles applied, as they were all people-centric businesses. Having the right managers in place and supporting them always gave the outcomes that were needed. Some of the businesses worked and some didn’t, but they were all great learning experiences.” In 2006, Ian moved back to London for three years, as vice-president of sales and marketing worldwide, for what had by then become GE SeaCo, a joint venture between Sea Containers and GE Capital. His family remained in Australia while Ian commuted between London and Sydney, travelling extensively to meet customers around the world. “It wasn’t the easiest thing but it was a great experience, because I went from looking after a smaller area to looking after worldwide marketing,” says Ian. “After my three-year contract finished, I decided I really wanted to move back to Australia. They gave me the role of looking after Asia Pacific, based in Sydney. However, a year or two later, the company decided to sell its domestic business rather than invest further. After I had sold the business for them I ran out of excuses to be based in Sydney.” Ian went to Singapore to set up GE Seaco’s new head office there, moving it from London. “We transitioned jobs from London to Singapore. But at the end of 2011, after four years, GE Seaco was sold to a Chinese company, so I decided that was enough for me. Raffles Leasing, part of the Buss organisation, approached me and I started working with them on January 1 this year. “We have a fleet of just over 100,000 Teu containers, compared to Seaco’s more than one million Teu. So it is a small company and it is pretty much like going back to where I started 35 years ago. But I enjoy working for a smaller company. It is innovative, made up of people with similar ideas, and it is much quicker to make decisions!” he says.


“The charity has also built a nursing school and a sewing school and provides sponsorship for doctors at the local hospital.” Ian now looks back on his first interview with Sea Containers, and has no regrets. “I had no idea what I was getting into. I just got involved in the shipping container industry at an early stage, and I saw it grow from nothing to where it is today. And what I appreciate about the industry is that people involved in shipping have had a lot of different experiences, are prepared to take risks, and there is a strong relationship culture. “Most of the people who have never been involved in the industry would run a million miles if they saw the returns you get on shipping. But it is a special type of people who understand shipping — they’ve got it in their blood and understand it,” says Ian. But time does move on, bringing with it different stages of the life cycle, as Ian says, and he recently became a proud grandfather for the first time, echoing one of his highlights in life, that of watching his sons grow up to become adults. Outside work Ian, who lives in Sydney’s northern beaches, enjoys cycling, golf and sailing, although he admits to not doing enough of any of them in recent times. Ian is also heavily involved in a couple of charities, one of which is the annual Shipping Golf Day. “It started as a one-off fundraiser to help someone whose child needed medical treatment, but then I suggested we expand it and turn it into a regular event where we as an industry are raising money for charity,” says Ian. “It is now in its 20th year, and each year it raises more and more money. It is great to give back. The idea was to get the shipping industry to do something they

25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Ian Routledge

enjoy, but also to do something for the children’s hospital, which they have done really well.” Ten years ago, Ian also became involved in a charity called “Aid for Africa Down Under”. “It’s a long story, but to cut it short, we came across a woman in Zimbabwe who had lost her farm, but she was building a village for kids whose parents had died from AIDS and who were turning up on the property. So my wife went out to Zimbabwe and saw them. She came home and said to me, ‘look, we need to do something. You know about containers, so why don’t we send a container across with things that they need?’ “People were keen to donate, to the point where we couldn’t move in our house because it was full of donations,” laughs Ian. “So we packed it all up and we got MCS to supply the loading and transport, PIL to supply the shipping space, and GE Seaco supplied the container.” Ian and his partner, who has her own architecture practice, are currently packing the charity’s 15th container. “The charity has also built a nursing school and a sewing school and provides sponsorship for doctors at the local hospital, amongst other things. It is great to see something that changes people’s lives at the other end, and that whatever we do as a small group of volunteers makes a difference.” Ian credits the transport industry again for its generosity. “Most of the time I just ring and someone will give me the shipping space, another company will supply the truck, and so on. It is great to see that in Australia you can call on people and they are prepared to contribute.”

From industrial relations trainee to vice-president, from skydiving to sailing


Michael Slee

Vice-President, Trade & Operations, Oceania Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) By Nicole Gooch


“Coming from Australia, it was very exciting to be a one-man band sitting in Hong Kong at the centre of shipping and logistics in that huge world market.”

aterpillars have had a happy recurring resonance throughout Mike Slee’s life. Mike, 60, was born on a dairy farm north of Melbourne, but the dairy business at the time was “pretty tough” and his father was going broke. He moved the family to the city, and joined William Adams, a large Caterpillar dealer. “And that has a continuation now in my current role, given that Caterpillar is one of Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics’ major customers,” laughs Mike. “We spent a lot of time as kids clambering around Caterpillar tractors and excavators at the various depots, and going to Melbourne shows was good fun for a family of three young boys.” In 1970, Mike began a Bachelor of Economics degree at Monash University. “There were still Vietnam anti-war demonstrations and ‘radical’ activity on the campus so it was a pretty exciting time to be there. I was actually probably too involved in campus activities in the first year of my degree — I discovered the delights of the local pubs and got heavily involved in rowing,” says Mike. But he did manage to complete his degree, and started to look around for other opportunities. “I had done a bit of politics during my degree, which I found fascinating. But I did interviews for various public service roles where economics was a key focus, and with private industry in marketing roles, and they didn’t really tick the boxes or excite me. “Then I saw an ad in the paper for a graduate trainee position with ANL. It leapt off the page at me,” says Mike. “During my childhood I had formed an interest in ships — we often visited whaling ships, of all things! They used to come into Port Melbourne, at Station

Michael Slee – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


Michael Slee and his son sailing on Sydney Harbour. Pier. I also visited the old Royal Interocean Line vessels such as MS Tjiluwah, so shipping was probably planted in the back of my mind as a career possibility.” Mike had also worked while at university as a casual labourer on the waterfront for Bridgeford’s, unloading rail wagons full of wool and rice and stuffing that into containers. “I had to be a member of the Storeman & Packers union to be a part of that, and I ran into all sorts of characters from the waterfront. It suited me too because it was great for building strength for my rowing!” Mike applied, and wound up as an industrial relations trainee. “If you think of ways to really get embedded and ingrained in what the industry is all about, that was probably the best possible way to get started,” he reflects. “For someone coming cold into the industry out of suburban east Melbourne, it was fascinating and a real eye opener. “I was probably more of a lefty than on the conservative side of politics from my days at university but there I was, having to deal on the opposite side of the fence. It made me somewhat conflicted sometimes, but I always tried to look at it from both sides, and tried to find the right balance, and that was the challenge!” ANL was then a large company and the maritime unions were “pretty active”. Mike thrived on the challenges and diversity that came with the job. “I was involved in cases in the arbi-


Mike also sailed skiffs out of Balmoral with his son, ‘spending a lot of time in the water learning how to swim in Sydney Harbour’. tration court, which was very interesting, but the most enjoyable part was getting aboard vessels at ports all over the country, visiting our terminals and really getting a solid perspective from both sides — the employers’ but also the seafarers’ and wharfies’ sides — what their interests, needs and demands were.” However, after five years in this role, ANL sent Mike to Hong Kong to learn about the commercial side of the industry. He spent a total of five years there in two different roles, as assistant regional representative and then shortly after as regional representative for ANL Far East. “I found it very rewarding, and I guess this is where my career really started to move. It was more akin to some of my economic training — it was international trading. Coming from Australia, it was very exciting to be a one-man band sitting in Hong Kong at the centre of shipping and logistics in that huge world market. We had operations in the Philippines and Taiwan, and had begun expanding into China. So the ’80s were a great time to be there.” But the move to Hong Kong was also “the genesis” of the next stage in

25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Michael Slee

Mike’s personal life. Shortly after he arrived on his second posting, he met his wife, an Englishwoman named Kay. “She was visiting friends there, and coincidently ran into me in a bar called Mad Dogs during the Chinese New Year, when the whole of Hong Kong basically closes down. As an expat single guy with not much to do, I had spent the day in the pub and ran into this lovely young lady. But it took me three months to persuade her to go out with me after that particular introduction!” That was 1985. Three years later, the couple returned to Melbourne, and Mike continued in various roles with ANL, while Kay worked at the Bank of Melbourne. “But ANL was contracting rather than growing, and ultimately in 1994 I was retrenched,” says Mike. “I think it was one of the earlier rounds of retrenchment in ANL, and I had no concerns about the retrenchment process. Once you get over the initial shock, it made a lot of sense given that the business was changing.” Mike spent the next seven months bonding with his son, two-year-old James, and helping out at home. “It was a timely break and unique

experience for us as a family. I enjoyed it, but it also gave me time to sit back and think — do I want to stay in this industry or should I jump ship and try something completely different?” Mike decided to return to shipping. “It was in the blood, I guess. I was hooked on the shipping industry”. “What I love about this industry is its huge diversity. There is never a dull moment, and if you push yourself there are so many opportunities from a commercial, operational or seagoing perspective,” says Mike. “But it is also full of wonderful characters, and at the base of it all are our customers.” In late 1994, Mike and his young family, complete now with a new baby girl, moved to Sydney, where he had just started in the role of national marketing manager for Maersk Australia. “I was only at Maersk for 18 months but it was an extraordinary experience. I really benefited from that time,” he says. “There were no paradigms that Maersk were not prepared to crash through and it was hugely stimulating and exciting.” Then the opportunity came to join what was then Wilhelmsen Lines, in 1995, as head of shipping, and Mike again leapt at it. And 18 years later, he is still there. “Every two years or so I have had a new role. It has always been a new learning experience,” says Mike. The move to Wilhelmsen Lines also saw Mike return to the roro segment of the industry with a major global player, building on his experience in ANL’s Asian services. Nowadays Mike is also more involved with Shipping Australia, working on policy development for the industry. He is also a director and shareholder of a small shipping company in New Zealand — a car carrier and roll-on, roll-off operator around the Pacific and Asia. But his most significant highlight was meeting his wife in Hong Kong. “That for me has been extraordinarily important. We have had a fantastic family life together in Sydney. Our son James has graduated with a degree in Health Science and a Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety, and our daughter is studying an Arts degree, majoring in dance.” Mike and Kay recently moved from their family house on Sydney’s northern beaches into an apartment just walking distance to the beach. “Some of my passions have been

Michael Slee and Kay on holiday.

Michael Slee’s wife Kay, at the naming ceremony of the Salome. gardening, although I have been very passionate about not having to do it for the last 18 months,” laughs Mike. And for his 60th birthday, his kids bought him surfing lessons. “I am now learning to surf again, so that’s interesting! I have been struggling upside down at Manly Beach. Hopefully I will get upright soon!” Mike had continued rowing at state championship level for about ten years after finishing university, and then switched to skydiving, following in his brother’s footsteps. He stopped when he moved to Hong Kong, after about 230 jumps. And in the past ten years or so, he has developed a passion for sailing. For five years the family spent their weekends cruising on Pittwater and sailing up the Hawkesbury River or on Sydney Harbour. “That was good fun. It was a terrific way to spend the weekend with the family.”

Mike also sailed skiffs out of Balmoral with his son, “spending a lot of time in the water learning how to swim in Sydney Harbour. We gradually improved our skills, and he now sails 18-footers. I am driving the rescue boat at the yacht club. It’s a good weekend activity!” Mike says he could never have imagined where he would wind up. “That single opportunity I took with ANL in Melbourne has been the start of what has been a fantastic career. But, most importantly, it is the guidance of the various leaders I have worked with and the support and commitment of my teams that have enabled me to succeed.” It has been continuous learning and enjoyment in the industry for Mike, who says he is now “looking forward to further challenges as tougher markets, new constraints and emerging technology push the industry to the next level”.

Michael Slee – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


At the forefront of change

“I am passionate about the industry and about the fact that, I think, there are parts of our business where today we are world leaders.”


25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Don Smithwick


Don Smithwick Managing Director

Qube Ports & Bulk Division

Don Smithwick

By Nicole Gooch


on Smithwick began his career at the age of 14, as an office junior for Darling Island Stevedoring on Sydney’s working wharves. It was 1963, and at the time Darling Island was one of 16 stevedoring companies in Sydney, with its own wool dock at number 19 Pyrmont Bridge. It is now a restaurant. “It was a fantastic atmosphere,” reminisces Don. “There was a lot of manual handling still going on, with 7,000 waterside workers registered in the Port of Sydney alone. It was an eye opener, but what helped me was that I had grown up around the area and figured out how things worked on the waterfront. And I wanted to learn, so it was a great opportunity and a great experience.” Don laments that, in the time since he was on the waterfront, a lot of the real “characters” have been lost. “It was such a strong mateship that existed on the waterfront at the time, and for many years after. But today I think we have lost it, and that’s the disappointing side [of changes to the industry].” Don admits, however, that being a fast runner helped, “because you had to be sometimes. “But in my view, there was a basic set of rules, including that you didn’t tell lies, and over time you would hopefully get the respect of the workforce. There were a lot of funny times, and a lot of difficult times, but you tend to forget the hard times and focus on the funnier side. Everybody had a nickname — ‘the little gangsters’, the ‘graceful mover’, for example. “When I was a kid, it was good to find somebody as a protector, and I was lucky enough to have quite a few people as mentors throughout my career, and also as friends. Certainly

“There were a lot of funny times, and a lot of difficult times, but you tend to forget the hard times and focus on the funnier side.” in my younger years it was very necessary to have somebody who would keep an eye out for you.” But Don soon learned that he too had a nickname — “the smiling assassin”. “It came about, I suppose, because I was about change. I wanted to change things. Different people have different views of it, but I always thought that we needed change in the industry, and a lot of that time I was at the forefront of that change.” Indeed, working for the Darling Island Stevedoring company was “a very early lesson in people management, and how really inefficient we were at the time as an industry, and the fact that what we did, we didn’t do particularly well”. Frustrated, Don jumped at the opportunity in 1970 to move across to Seatainers Australia, the first container operating terminal in Australia. “I was told containers wouldn’t last, and look where we are today!” laughs Don. He spent seven years at the terminal at White Bay as a labour manager, then in 1977 moved to the Seatainers terminal inland depot as supervisor. “We were handling a lot of the unpacking of containers, also packing cargo into containers for the Pacific Islands, which was a difficult task! “I spent six years there and ended up the superintendent, until Seatainer terminals closed in about 1983, which is when I started my association with Conaust, as depot manager at its consolidated cargo services facility.”

“It was quite an experience,” says Don, who climbed the ladder with Conaust and P&O Ports until he became national operations manager for general stevedoring. However, in 1996, Don became aware of the issues Patrick Corporation was dealing with on the waterfront. While many would run a mile, that prompted him to join Patrick. He moved over as the director responsible for general stevedoring, and worked with Chris Corrigan for the first couple of years in re-organising Patrick’s operations in the over 20 ports that it had around Australia. “That was quite an exciting time, though not without its issues. Just a bit stressful,” recalls a sardonic Don. “But I saw it as a once in a lifetime opportunity. Having by that stage spent 30-odd years on the waterfront, it was an opportunity to fix a lot of the woes that were affecting both the general stevedoring side and the container terminal side. “We are an island nation and we had a great product, but we were totally inefficient. We need efficient wharves, and we just didn’t have them,” says a passionate Don. “I was a little bit tired too of spending 60 per cent of my time as senior manager dealing with industrial issues rather than running a business. So I saw that there was a real opportunity to actually do something with the business that I was responsible for, and hopefully at the same time bring in new management with a different focus.”

Don Smithwick – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


It was quite extraordinary, says Don. “Certainly from my perspective, after the dispute was settled and we all got back to work, for the first three to four years, it was really quite exciting. As an industry we really started to flourish, and in the businesses that I was responsible for we made quite a number of significant gains, in market share and also in innovative practices and changes in management style. And the time I spent on industrial issues dropped to about five per cent. And that’s probably the right focus.” Those years after the waterfront dispute were quite a highlight for Don. But his career highlight was starting QUBE, in 2006, after Toll bought Patrick. “I was involved in buying DP World general stevedoring, and put the business together, and now we are a major company and listed on the ASX, with a market cap at $1.6 billion. We started off at about $200 million. That is a huge sense of achievement, and probably for me the highlight of my career.” Don also has three sons, of whom he is equally proud, and five grandchildren, with a sixth on the way. “I obviously work fairly long hours and don’t get to see a lot of them. The position takes up quite a bit of my time in general. My hobbies have gone out, but at some stage I will look to re-engage,” says Don. “You are on edge most of the time, because we work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. That is good and bad, because you’ve always got something going on, and with the time differences you are generally on call and receiving calls most of the weekend. That’s life. If you lived it over a second time, I don’t know whether or not you would do it differently.” Don says he is really quite a proud Australian, and proud of Australia’s maritime industry. “I am quite passionate about the industry, and about the fact that, I think, there are parts of our business where today we are world leaders, and in some small way I’d like to think that I contributed towards it.” But it has its downsides too. Don worries that since the dispute in 1998, “a number of issues have combined to put us back as an industry pre-1998”. He puts it down in some cases to poor management, inexperience in


“Different people have different views of it, but I always thought that we needed change in the industry, and a lot of that time I was at the forefront of that change.” handling the waterfront and industrial legislation that hasn’t helped. “Having gone though what I thought would be the once in a lifetime experience of 1998, it is disappointing to see a lot of that go down the drain through a combination of those three issues,” says Don. But he has also enjoyed a lot of adventures in his career. “It has been really quite interesting to see the evolution of the waterfront over the years, and I think we are about to embark on another adventure with all the container terminals becoming automated.” In the meantime, Don admits to making more time for holidays as

25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Don Smithwick

he gets older. He and his wife, who is originally from Bulgaria, visit her home country as often as possible, while also exploring Australia and relaxing in the Pacific Islands. “It is also good to go and see the world as well!” says Don. And there are certainly no plans for retirement for Don just yet. “I am 64 now, and I think at some stage I will give retirement some thought, but I have no immediate thoughts about it now. There are still lots of challenges ahead and excitement in the industry that I still enjoy very much!”

Integrated Port Solutions

From the shipwrecked Rockingham to Fremantle Ports, via journalism

‘Her broad experience won the day and Ainslie has now held the position of external affairs manager at Fremantle Ports for 17 years.’


25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Ainslie de Vos


Ainslie de Vos Manager External Affairs Fremantle Ports

Ainslie de Vos

By Cameron Boggs


inslie de Vos’ family came to Fremantle on a sailing ship called the Rockingham, within a year of the Swan River colony’s European foundation in 1829. Blown ashore and wrecked in shallow waters south of Fremantle, the Rockingham claimed her forefather’s pre-fabricated house, and left the fledgling colonists to begin anew. This goes some way to explaining not only her passion for Fremantle Ports, but also her love of travel and history. “In a way I feel as though I belong here. I grew up by the water in Perth and had come down to the port from time to time when I was a child, walking along the wharf as people did, and always thought that this was an interesting environment,” says Ainslie. “But I never envisaged myself working here. I’m from a river family, and here I am working at the mouth of a river.” In an historical twist compounding her connection to the port, her father’s family — the Mews — became boat builders in Fremantle. “Life by the river on the weekends was dominated by people sailing. My three brothers are all good yachtsmen, as was my late father, who was a naval officer during the Second World War. One of my brothers went into the navy as a cadet midshipman,” Ainslie says. Her eldest brother is a retired chartered accountant with a farm, the next went on to have a successful career in newspapers and then television in England, and her third brother is currently a marine broker. Ainslie is the youngest. “When I was at school I didn’t give a great deal of thought to what I might do in my career. I have always enjoyed writing, and when my brother became a journalist for one of the Western Australian newspapers, I just followed in his footsteps. “I was quite young when I started

‘Australian Open Gardens selected the garden of her home in Perth twice for exhibition.’

learning my craft and I hadn’t imagined all these years later I would still be working. Life just happened that way; I enjoy what I do and plan to keep working.” Educated in Perth at Presbyterian Ladies College, Ainslie went on to study at the University of Western Australia, but life had other plans. She gained a journalism cadetship at the ABC in Perth, as journalists were trained then before media degrees were available. Preferring to jump into the workforce, she traded academic studies for practical experience. Immediately after completing her four-year cadetship, Ainslie left for a year to work part-time while travelling overseas. Upon her return she reclaimed a position at the ABC and later married Sri Lanka-born television journalist and producer David de Vos, whom she met while working in the newsroom. Four years later the happy pair would welcome their second child. “When we got married we spent a year travelling overseas, and on return the ABC had us back almost immediately. I’m not sure that it would work like that these days, but it was very nice to be able to come back to something that we knew and enjoyed. “My husband and I enjoy each other’s company and pursue a lot of activities together. We are very close to our family. Our sons David and Hugo live in Perth, and we see our grandchildren regularly — Nicola and Harrison are eight, and Isabella is four.” While being committed to their work, they have always been keen travel-

lers and make sure they go overseas for a holiday every year. Travelling extensively throughout Europe, the UK, regional America and Asia, it has become a lifelong interest for the duo to experience different cultures, see how other people live and what the rest of the world looks like. They have explored Australia as well. In addition to her career and travel, Ainslie is keen on history and gardening. Australian Open Gardens, a scheme which annually identifies and opens private gardens to the public, selected the garden of her previous home in Perth twice for exhibition over a period of five years, and extended a third invitation. “If you’ve got a busy job, you need to be able to switch off occasionally from that. I find gardening to be wonderfully therapeutic, in that it takes all your attention. It’s also very creative,” says Ainslie, “and we have the benefit of a great gardener helping us. “My leisure interests are quite wide ranging. I’ve got an eclectic taste in books, and most of my reading is done when I am on holidays. One of the fantastic things about getting away is being able to sit with a book, as I find life is fairly busy the rest of the time. I enjoy reading well researched historical novels, from authors like Mary Renault in past years to Booker prize winner Hilary Mantel currently. An enjoyable recent non-fiction read has been Peter Ackroyd’s London: The Biography. I am very fond of opera, and also relax with country music when I’m driving home

Ainslie de Vos – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


Ainslie de Vos and her husband David.

“I can remember once watching an operation where some of the plastic surgeons worked on an orangutan from the Perth Zoo, which had a severe under arm injury. It was fascinating.”

from work or in the countryside.” Cooking for friends and family is another interest. Motherhood prompted Ainslie to scale back to part-time work while she was raising her children, but she kept her journalism career alive. Later, when the children were a little older, she moved across from the ABC to Channel Nine in Perth as an on-camera journalist, again part-time. “I found a lot of immediacy working in radio and television, and had the opportunity to work on interesting assignments right from the beginning. It was often exciting, very stimulating and I enjoyed it immensely. The background in journalism is very useful for the work I do now.” Almost as soon as the couple moved to Sydney for David’s posting with Four Corners, Ainslie began working for Channel Nine in Sydney. But after a year the opportunity to venture into something new came along in the form of the Australian Bicentennial Authority, her first job away from mainstream media and the beginnings of a public relations career. The pace of the media manager role and scrutiny of the Authority over the


events planning would be a baptism of fire for Ainslie. For 12 months it was her job to be on the front line with media. “By the time we came back to Perth I had decided that the field of public relations would be something I could pursue and enjoy, using my experience from my journalism days to good effect.” Not ready to jump into a full-time role, she set up a successful public relations business with a friend. One of their clients was the City of Perth which at the time, with the involvement of the State Government, was developing the central part of the city, the main city square and surrounding buildings. The culmination of the three-year partnership was the opening of the city square in Perth by the Queen. Working for themselves enabled the pair some degree of control over the type of work they took on and when they did it, offering a balance between family and work. “When my children were older, I took a full-time job as public relations manager at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, which was a fascinating experience. I had many amazing opportunities when I worked at this big teaching hospital, to learn about the research

25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Ainslie de Vos

that was being undertaken, to see some complex surgery, experiences which were unusual. “I can remember once watching an operation where some of the plastic surgeons worked on an orangutan from the Perth Zoo, which had a severe under arm injury, having staked itself on a tree or something in its enclosure. “The zoo had approached to see if anyone could help and a surgical team from Sir Charles Gairdner actually went to the zoo. I watched them as they repaired the serious injury using a type of surgical super glue. I found it an utterly rewarding and fascinating job to do. “I have always been interested in health and medical topics. One of my sons is now a specialist in emergency medicine, and I must say when he was studying I found it utterly interesting to follow along.” After working at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital for eight years, and as a member of the hospital’s art committee, Ainslie felt it was time to make a change. She had never envisaged working on the waterfront, but responded to a job ad in the local newspaper, and the rest is history. Despite turning up late for her interview with then-CEO, Kerry Sanderson, her broad experience won the day and Ainslie has now held the position of external affairs manager at Fremantle Ports for 17 years. As the port has developed and as community priorities have changed, so too has the external affairs role, with a strong emphasis on building and maintaining community support. “In a long career, this is the job that has given me the greatest enjoyment and fulfilment,” says Ainslie.

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From Queensland’s sheep farms to the offshore industry

“Every year has been a highlight, because every year is different, bringing with it new clients and new challenges.”

Jeffrey Weber, at home in Perth.


25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Jeffrey Weber


Jeffrey Weber Managing Director

Mermaid Marine Australia

Jeffrey Weber

By Nicole Gooch


n 1980, Jeff Weber was one of the first crop of BHP marine engineer cadets to commence a new training programme at the Australian Maritime College. He still remembers his first day at the College in Launceston. “I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I remember seeing the training vessel for the first time and thinking, ‘Oh my god, it is huge!’ I clearly had no idea. It was the tiniest little thing ever,” he says, laughing. Jeff, now managing director at Mermaid Marine, grew up in Augathella in “out west” Queensland, 800 kilometres from Brisbane. The family had previously lived in Stanthorpe, but when some of the children developed asthma, they shifted further west, deep into the Queensland bush. “It worked out really well. It was very small; there were only 300 people in the whole town, with big sheep farms surrounding it so it was really a great place to grow up,” recalls Jeff, who could drive by the time he was 11 years old. However, years 8, 9 and 10 of his schooling were spent at boarding school in Brisbane. “It was tough, because it was about 15 hours by bus to get home, so you were apart from your family for a long time. But that is what boarding school is about; you grow up quickly,” says Jeff. “And boarding school had some advantages. I learnt to play rugby, and enjoyed playing that game for a long time after that.” His parents eventually moved to Dalby, 210 kilometres from Brisbane, and Jeff was able to finish his schooling there. His marks were high enough to get into engineering at university, but living in Dalby made that difficult so Jeff took an apprenticeship as an electrician. “I really didn’t like it much, and kept on getting electric shocks so it

“I remember seeing the training vessel for the first time and thinking, ‘Oh my god, it is huge!’ I clearly had no idea. It was the tiniest little thing ever.” probably wasn’t a great career choice for me. Then one day my father came home and said, ‘Look, I saw this ad in the paper. BHP is looking for marine engineering cadets’.” “I had absolutely no idea what that meant, but thought it was worth a shot. I did the interview and got a cadetship with BHP. One month later I found myself heading down to Tassie, where I spent my first year at the Australian Maritime College. “I froze to death for the first year — I have never been so cold in my whole life,” he laughs. But despite the cold, Jeff enjoyed the challenge. There were 20 marine engineer cadets and 20 deck officer cadets, and they were all “a bit of a novelty” in the small town of Launceston. The third year of the four-year course was spent at sea. “I spent a year

basically going down one gangplank and up another. I sailed on big bulk carriers heading out of Port Hedland to Newcastle and Port Kembla, and on RoRo vessels, running around from the east coast to Adelaide, and then on small handy-size vessels to Japan. It was a great learning experience.” Afterwards Jeff landed a job as a fourth engineer. “That was scary, because all of a sudden you are not a cadet anymore, you actually have some responsibility!” In his mid-20s, Jeff took some time out of sailing to return to the Maritime College, albeit this time as a lecturer. He then went back to sea and worked his way up to second engineer, by which point he was in his late 20s and was thinking about settling down. He had met Jen, a doctor, in Brisbane a couple of years earlier, and Jeff

Jeffrey Weber and the board of Mermaid Marine Australia.

Jeffrey Weber – 25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013


decided “going to sea forever was probably not the thing I wanted to do”. He returned to the University of Queensland, and spent the next two years completing a Masters of Engineering and Technology Management. He then took on the job of ship superintendent at BHP’s head office in Melbourne. “That was challenging at first. Going from sea to an office environment was a huge change. And living in Melbourne was totally different to Brisbane, but it is a great city. Our first child was born in Brisbane, and the other two in Melbourne,” says Jeff. “I even got to the point where I understood and enjoyed Australian Rules football.” Jeff and his family spent a total of six years in Melbourne. He worked in ship management roles, before joining BHP’s strategic management group. “I really enjoyed the business development aspect there. It was quite stimulating and interesting — and good fun.” Jeff also spent a couple of months in Rio de Janeiro, working on the building of a new ship for BHP. “That was really interesting, but it was hard on my wife as I was away for a reasonably long period of time and our children were still very young.” With the travelling only getting worse, Jeff and his wife decided it was time to return to Brisbane, where the rest of their family still lived. And no sooner had they moved than Jeff got a job with a small marine company called Riverside Marine. “It was interesting, going from a huge company to a smaller one, but I got stuck into the work and eventually we got involved in harbour towage. “That was different for me. It is still marine, but quite a different part of the marine industry. We formed a JV company, RiverWijs, and were successful in winning a contract in Bunbury in Western Australia and also working with Woodside to take over its terminal towage operation in Dampier. I spent quite a lot of time in Western Australia. It involved negotiating new contracts, buying tugs, arranging finance and recruiting crews, so it was a really good learning experience for me,” says Jeff. “Some of my colleagues from BHP also joined the company and we were able to establish two successful towage operations in Western Australia. Those operations are still running, so it worked out pretty well!”


However, out of the blue, Jeff received a phone call from a recruitment company, asking if he’d be interested in a role as chief operations officer with Mermaid Marine in Fremantle. “Initially I said no. We had just moved from Melbourne to Brisbane, we loved our house and the kids were happy at their new school. But then the guy convinced me to meet him in Brisbane, and he said why don’t you come over to Perth and see the company…” That was more than ten years ago, and the rest is history. “Again, it was a totally new adventure,” says Jeff. “I’d gone from blue water to harbour towage, to the offshore industry.” Jeff was made CEO of the company a few months after having “dragged his family all the way from Queensland to Western Australia”. “We came over with a five year plan, and that was about 11 years ago now. It was quite a small company at the time, and there were some real challenges around the offshore industry, so it was a really steep learning curve,” says Jeff. “And on top of all that, Mermaid Marine is a publicly listed company, so I had to learn how to deal with shareholders and investors.” It was hard, but it was good fun too, says Jeff. “Every year just got better. We won some good contracts, we were able to attract some good people, and slowly built more momentum. Then suddenly the industry picked up a little, when we were in a good position, and we started to grow quickly. Mermaid Marine is now the largest offshore marine services company in Australia and we are expanding into Asia.” Jeff says it is all thanks to the team at Mermaid Marine, many of whom have also been at the company for a very long time. “I am very much a people person, and I have met some wonderful people over the years in the shipping industry. And that’s been fantastic.” Likewise, Jeff says every year has been a highlight, because every year is different, bringing with it new clients and new challenges. “I’ve been working with Mermaid Marine for over ten years now, and I am still passionate about where we are going!” But, like everything, life is all about balance, says Jeff. Weekends, as much as possible, are sacred and kept for the family. “Jen has had to put up with me travelling an enormous amount over

25 Faces of Australian Shipping 2013 – Jeffrey Weber

Jeffrey Weber and his wife, Jen.

the years so getting home for the weekends is really important to us.” “Moving to Perth turned out to be a good decision and it has been great to see the kids grow up here. Now I have a 20-year-old, an 18-year-old and a 16-year-old, and watching them grow up, getting their driver’s licences, turning 18 — all that sort of thing — I have really enjoyed!” Both of Jeff ’s sons are now at university in Perth, while his daughter is in Year 11. “With the kids growing up, most weekends were spent on the side of hockey fields and footy fields. The boys play rugby and footy while my daughter rows and takes part in competitive surf lifesaving. The whole family has spent a lot of time at North Cottesloe Surf Lifesaving Club over the years.” Jeff has also recently taken up stand-up paddleboarding, after a very short period of trying to surf. “My kids surf and they all agree that I am useless at it. My paddleboard is huge so that works for me.” And looking back at that first experience down at Launceston harbour, Jeff cannot help but smile. “Compared to some of the big ships I have since been on, that training boat was minuscule. I was so naïve about the maritime industry, and it still surprises me that BHP gave me a job in the first place. But I’ve been in it for 30 years now and I love it! Interesting how life works out...”

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25 Faces of Australian Shipping  
25 Faces of Australian Shipping