Thorleif Thorleifsson

Meet Christian Andersen - Board Member

When did you first realize you were interested in the maritime industry?

I started working in Fearnleys during my studies at Oslo Business School. This was in the computer department where we sold computer systems to shipbrokers and maritime industry. Completing my studies I worked here for some years before jumping over to shipbroking, also in Fearnleys.

You have an impressive background from the shipping industry. Tell us a bit about what you’ve been doing during your career. 

I spent six years as chartering shipbroker in LPG and petrochemical gases in Fearnleys. I wanted to try something different and together with a close friend and customer, we started an LPG trading company. We bought LPG FOB and sold CIF to customers in Europe, from Sweden to Cape Verde Islands. Hectic and great fun while we learned a lot.

Suddenly, we were in the middle of the “dot com” wave and I was challenged to build up an internet shipbroker. Eventually we agreed to concentrate on building a back office computer system and combine it with a desk of brokers. Our biggest owners was a large gas trader who was going to use the system. Unfortunately, they ran into difficulties and they had to save their company, and the system we built  – although completed - was never launched.

At this time Bergesen d. y. had just entered into LNG business. I was hired to build up and grow this new business. Eventually Bergesen was acquired by Sohmen Pao family and is now a significant part of BW Group. The LNG business took me to a lot of exotic places all over the world and LNG became an important part of BW’s business.

Time to go back to the roots. The shale industry in US produced a lot of propane and butane. The orderbook for VLGC’s was moderate. A colleague and friend at BW and I decided it was time to launch a new VLGC shipowner. This led us into Stolt-Nielsen, where we build up the gas division. The biggest investment eventually became Avance Gas, where I was president and CEO.

In the last few years, I have been heading the Tidemand family’s shipping investments which includes Stove Shipping, Eastern Bulk Carriers and Lorentzen & Co.

What do you think will be your contribution to the company and the team? 

I will offer my experience in shipping and trading as well as background from digitalization of maritime industry. This is the fourth time I am engaged in developing computer based solutions for shipping.

What do you think is the key to a successful team?

There are several keys to success in building computer solutions. We have to know and understand the customers; sometime it is more important to say “no” than “yes” to demanding proposals. We have to concentrate on delivering the current solution, not talking on what will come later. We need a good combination of computer skills and shipping skills. One of Maritime Optima’s strong basis is that we start from scratch and can use all the newest and up to date technology.

Why do you find Maritime Optima interesting and why do you invest time and money in Maritime Optima?

I like the combination of curiosity and finding new ways to do routine work. We will help the maritime industry to work better by taking less wrong decisions. We will help to focus on business development rather spending too much time on routines. Modernization and digitalization of shipping is ongoing and gets more and more focus every day. Maritime Optima is a part of this and I want to participate in shaping our place in this exiting environment.

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