Asset Management

Based in Geneva, Switzerland, Doris Maritime Services (DORIS) is a company specialising in the management of ocean-going vessels, specifically container feeder ships and bulk carriers. Established in 1983 and closely connected with US business Rand & Company Inc, DORIS is run by chief executive officer Nicolas Wirth, a graduate of maritime studies from Cardiff University. Possessing an extensive knowledge and level of expertise in the technical and commercial management of ships, gained from nearly 40 years of work within the maritime industry, Nicolas today leads a team of dedicated professionals engaged in the technical, commercial and financial management of ships.

“The company also has an office in Amsterdam and a crewing company based in Manila, and its primary activity since 2002 has been ship management,” Nicolas says. “DORIS has ten shore staff working in Western Europe, 12 in Manila and approximately 850 currently at sea. These crewmembers are the most important of all the ingredients that have made DORIS so successful over the years. A ship owner can have good finances and good technical developments, but having a good crew is absolutely esseShntial. Some of DORIS’s crew members have been with the company for up to 20 years and it is its belief that growth should come from within, where employees are concerned. For example the company’s current operations manager actually started his career at DORIS as an apprentice.”

DORIS provides a range of products and services to new and existing clients. These include crewing, technical management, inspections, supervision of new buildings, the management of floating structures, back office support, risk assessments and chartering and post-fixture support. All of its services are provided on an intimate and personal level based on an underlying belief in keeping clients informed and up-to-date of ongoing operations at all times.

To demonstrate its commitment to providing clients with the best quality service possible, DORIS opted to adopt an ISO 9000 management system at the earliest opportunity. Complying with international conventions, port state and client requirements at all times, the company proactively works to ensure its products and services meet the current and future demands for quality, health and safety and environmental protection. Training of all of the company’s seafarers is just as big a priority for DORIS to help ensure their health and safety when operating in the field.

“As a company, DORIS has a very privileged relationship with the charterers based in and around Geneva, as well as with many of the major banks operating in Switzerland, Germany, Norway and the Netherlands,” Nicolas continues, highlighting some of the company’s unique selling points. “For a ship manager, good relations with banks is crucial, even more so if you are a smaller, hands-on company such as DORIS, which has a fleet of 18 vessels under its management. A company like DORIS is best suited to support small operators as it possesses the correct resources and boasts relatively low running costs.

“At the same time, being a small management company does present a number of challenges that have to be overcome to survive in the industry. In the years since the economic crisis a number of the smaller businesses have disappeared, while the so called ‘too big to fail’ organisations have prospered. The reality is that today many potential clients have their interests tied up with banks, and these banks nearly always approach the larger, more recognised ship managers, even if they are not the most efficient, safest, cheapest or best qualified players in the market. So it is essential that companies like DORIS continue to network and, most importantly, provide the very best service possible.”

DORIS is certainly an international business with a client base spread across Western Europe, South America, the Far East and the United States. The company’s global presence is also evident from the projects it is set to embark on over the summer of 2011: “Three ships are set to arrive shortly from a Greek owner, which DORIS will set up with crews, and it is currently working on a floating liquid natural gas storage and re-gasification (FSRU) facility project in South America,” Nicolas reveals.

In the months ahead Nicolas does foresee a change in the industry that will directly involve the banks and management companies like DORIS: “It is the belief of many in the maritime industry that within the next six months banks in Germany and the surrounding countries will no longer be able to support local ship owners in the way they have up until now. This will allow companies like DORIS to take on bareboat charters from the banks, something the company is actively planning for. In addition to this it will look to gradually increase its activity, managing an increasing number of container feeders, bulkers and other third party vessels.”

Experienced in all areas of ship management
An extensive knowledge of the container shipping sector
Positioned to tackle a changing market