The shipping industry has been on a downward spiral for the last five years due to overcapacity, which has in turn depressed the freight rates. The slump, however, is poised to end in 2014 according to analysts. Good news for shipping magnates and key shipping firms like TMT group who filed for bankruptcy amid the distress. Despite the hard-hitting effects of the plunge, we still have a good number of shipping magnates who have reaped their enormous wealth from shipping. We combed through the internet and came up with a list of the 10 richest shipping tycoons.
He took a dip in the shipping industry in the 1960s where he worked as a trainee in a ship broking firm. A decade later, John Fredriksen striked out on his own and bought his first tankers. Today, he stands proud as the owner of the largest oil tanker fleet in the world, which has significantly bolstered his wealth status.
In 1963, Klaus-Michael joined his grandfather’s transportation company Kuehne & Nagel. He was quick to master the trade and within three years, he had climbed up the ranks to become the company’s C.E.O. While he no longer sits as its chairman, the 76 year old has undoubtedly left an indelible mark in the company.
Eyal Ofer’s penchant for success has been unstoppable. Besides being an uber-successful shipping mogul, he has also proved to be an adept real estate investor. He sits as the chairman of Zodiac Maritime Agencies, a large shipping corporation with more than 130 vessels. He also has shipping interests in OMNI Offshore Terminals and a stake in Royal Caribbean Cruise lines. Some of his assets in real estate include 15 Central Park West based in New York and the Altria building.
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The ambitious nature of billionaires radiates in this power couple who own MSC, the second largest container shipping company with over 400 vessels. Gianluigi took an interest in the world of shipping when he worked as a ferry ship captain in the 1960s. In 1970, together with his wife Rafaela, Gianluigi decided to launch his own cargo shipping company, which was then called Mediterranean Shipping. Four decades later, they have stamped their names as the wealthiest shipping couple.
Idan Ofer's fortunes may have taken a nose-dive following a drop in the stock of Israel Corp, but he has proved to be a true staying power in the billionaires club. He serves as the CEO of Quantum Pacific Group and Pacific Drilling as well. The Israeli is also known to be a towering figure when it comes to philanthropy. In 2013, he donated $42 million to refurbish the London business school.
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Kjell Inge Rokke worked as a fisherman for several years before he cobbled together enough cash to build his own shipping fleet. His efforts paid off. Today, he is the majority shareholder and chairman of shipping conglomerate Aker ASA. Rokke is also the owner of Molde FK, an esteemed Norwegian football club.
Spiro Latsis immersed himself in the shipping industry after his father’s death in 2003. He was charged with managing the family assets and from his staggering net worth, he clearly has the chops to succeed. The family holds a huge stake in Hellenic Petroleum one of the largest oil refining companies in Greece. Spiro Latsis also has stakes in other companies, which include EFG International, and Lamda development.
Chung Mong doesn’t own a fleet of ship neither is he wrapped up in the industry, but he holds a stake in Hyundai Heavy Industry, the largest shipbuilder in the world. Chung Mong-Joon inherited his billions from his later father Hyundai who was also the founder of the company.
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Arne Wilhemsen began his early road to success as a shipping broker before co-founding one of the largest cruise companies Royal Caribbean. He handed over the reins to his son Alex, but he still holds the giant stake in the shipping company.
The war in Lebanon prompted Jacques Saadé to move from his native country to France. His dreams of making it big in the shipping industry however, remained firmly intact. He lived up to his dreams when in 1978, he founded Compagnie Maritime Dáffretement, the largest container shipping company in France and the 3rd largest in the world.
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