26 TradeWinds 25 April 2008
SUPRAMAR SHIPPING & TRADING
A new broking shop has big ambitions of featuring strongly on the shipbroking map. Gillian Whittaker
Supramar Shipping & Trading is the lastest addition to Istanbul’s broking community and its 30something founders are full of enthusiasm and ambition. Bahadir Tonguc, 32, and Basar Bahar, 30, are an example of how young people in the Turkish shipping community are looking to the international markets. The two swing between the earnest evaluation of their new business and their ambitions for it and themselves. Both roar with laughter as they recall that when they made their very first fixture they had no bell available to ring in celebration. So Bahar grabbed the next best thing — a frying pan. That first fixture was done with Athens-based Optima Shipbrokers. Yorgos Floros says he met the Turkish duo about a year ago and has enjoyed working with them. Several fixtures have been concluded since. “Besides their nice personalities and their shipping background, the fact that they have experienced both owners’ and charterers’ view of the market will give them all they need in order to progress,” said Floros. Supramar’s name was chosen almost as a last resort when it seemed that just about all combinations with the words “winds”, “oceans” and “seas” had been taken. “We discussed so many names you couldn’t even dream of,” said Bahar. “For months — every single evening in Starbucks,” added Tonguc. The company was officially registered last September but the two brokers only started operating in March after completing their obligations to their former employers. The pair started out as friends, discussing their dreams and ideals, and realised they had mutual goals. They started examining the possibility of setting up their own company. Bahar’s father is a steel trader who has been chartering ships for many years, while Tonguc comes from a family that once owned ships. Tonguc says that having been exposed to the shipping business from childhood, one on each side of the chartering equation, the pair were ready for the business. The fledgling company already has exclusive tonnage in the form
PARTNERS: Bahadir Tonguc (left) and Basar Bahar, founders of Supramar in Istanbul
of a small coastal fleet of three from the owners’ side. ships of 2,500 dwt, 3,000 dwt and Prior to that, straight from uni3,700 dwt trading in the Mediter- versity he worked as a shipbroker ranean/Black Sea area. The ves- and chartering manager at Kalkasels are controlled by Anka Ship- van Altindeniz, a company that ping of Istanbul. controlled seven dry-cargo ships It also has exclusive Ukraine- of up to 12,000 dwt. He moved on based charterers, Bahar says, to Force Twins Shipping as charwho are planning to buy two Om- tering manager for three timeskiy-type river ships that may be chartered river-type units until taken under their redelivery. Basar Bahar: “We management by Fleet manager Supramar. want to be differ- and Bayraktar Bahar worked group chief exent from other on two separate ecutive Erhan broking compaoccasions with Bayraktar deIstanbul-based nies. We don’t just scribes Tonguc operator Pegaa person with want to be a ship- as sus Shipping, good knowledge broker without a first in post-fixof the business ture and later as who is aware of name.” deputy manager the ethics of of time-charter operations for six chartering and shipbroking. years. In between he spent ap“There are two types of people, proximately a year involved in the employees and the employinvestment finance with Kaptan ers, and we realised that and have Demir Celik Endustrisi ve Ticaret, always been in the employer a steel-products company, and a mentality,” said Tonguc. “We are three-month stint with Banque creative guys. We like to create Internationale de Commerce in things instead of only earning Geneva. money or fixing ships. We have His work was mainly on the been trying to do something.” charterers’ side, while Tonguc Bahar said: “We want to be difcomes to the venture from Istan- ferent from other broking compabul’s Bayraktar group, where he nies. We don’t just want to be a worked as a dry-cargo broker shipbroker without a name.
Photo: Gillian Whittaker
That’s why we have waited a little while and made baby steps in order to make the bigger point.” In due course, the pair see themselves growing into ship operation, chartering and, in the end, shipowning. Profile-raising and attempts to contribute to the Turkish shipping community include preparing presentations, writing articles and market reports for local magazines and newspapers such as the official magazine of the Turkish Chamber of Shipping, Tonguc says, as well as voluntarily assisting students and trainees in preparing their theses. But like all young people trying to carve a niche for themselves, they have come across obstacles. Tonguc comments that as employees the opportunities to participate in meetings of the Turkish Chamber of Shipping were limited. But having their own company will mean that they can become members. Without spreading themselves too thin, the pair want to attend as many relevant industry gatherings to built up contacts and knowledge. “Now we are at the very beginning of the game,” said Tonguc, adding optimistically: “It’s going OK for the time being.”
Axel Steffen, a top director at major German KG (limited partnership) shipping-financing house Hansa Treuhand, has decamped to join growing managing owner Marconsult Shipping. Steffen will become an acting partner alongside joint owners of Hamburg-based Marconsult, JanGerd Bartels and Matthias Dabelstein, as of 1 July. He will lead Marconsult’s efforts in finding shipping financing — co-operating with banks and KG fundemission companies as well as providing investor support. Steffen joined Hansa Treuhand in January 2000 as a sales director and, in 2005, became an acting partner in the group alongside Jan Bartels, Klaus Gerken and Herman Ebel on the executive committee. From 1995 to 1999, he worked at Hamburgische Landesbank, which became leading shipping lender HSH Nordbank. Hansa Treuhand has appointed Soenke Fanslow, a political economist and tax counsel who has been at the company since 2001, as Steffen’s successor. He has also been an acting partner in the group since 2006. Steffen will also play a joint role at Marconsult with Dabelstein in finding private-equity placements for ships. Hansa Treuhand has also promoted current technical supervisor and representative for its newbuilding programme Peter Mackeprang as managing director of its Hansa Shipping shipmanagement unit. The Hamburg-based KG group will also make Jan Bartels, acting partner of its Hansa Chartering subsidiary, a managing director in Hansa Shipping. Mackeprang will take over all nautical technology issues from January 2009, when he replaces a joint founder of the shipping company, Bodo Franz. Franz, who is 67, will work to the end of the year before retiring, although he will remain available to help out on special projects.
Partners make their own way
Hansa director set to join Marconsult
LOUIS BUYS STAR DUO ••• Cyprus cruiseship outfit Louis is buying two ships from Star Cruises for a combined $380m.The 51,000-gt Norwegian Dream is costing $218m and 41,000-gt Norwegian Majesty (both built 1992) $162m. Star will operate them under its Norwegian Cruise Line brand and charter them back until November 2008 and December 2009, respectively. LIGHTSHIP GOES TO GENEVA ••• Lightship Chartering of Denmark is setting up an office in Geneva. Gentofte-based Lightship set up an office in Singapore recently. Chairman Bjarne Tvilde confirms the setup in Geneva.The company employs 19 brokers. Net profit last year was DKK 58.1m ($12.3m) from DKK 19.4m in 2006. Revenues rose from DKK 63.2m to DKK 121m. Lightship expects a similar profit in 2008.