Feeding the market
Taking its name from Doris, one of goddesses of the sea in Greek mythology, Doris Maritime Services SA (DORIS) is a Geneva Switzerland based company specialising in the management of ocean-going vessels. DORIS was established during 1983 by Mr. Nicolas Wirth, the company’s present CEO, a graduate in maritime studies with a considerable amount of expertise in both the technical and commercial management of ships, as well as sales and purchase activities, chartering and other financial and operation aspects of ship management and ownership.
Presently DORIS is primarily focused on the provision of ship management services to the bulk carrier and container ship markets. Within these sectors it provides a comprehensive spectrum of services comprised of crewing; technical management; inspection and survey to recognised industry standards; sales and purchase; newbuild supervision; floating structure management; back office support; chartering and post-fixture; and operational and technical risk assessment operations.
DORIS differentiates itself by providing all of its products and services on an intimate and personal level, which promotes long-term relationships between the company and its clients and crew. “DORIS has a competitive edge because it is a small and very hands on company, where everybody is involved in making sure the business runs smoothly,” Nicolas explains. “In a smaller company it is much easier to have better control over operations and a stronger team of employees, whereas in a large business it is harder to have close control over the managed ships and operations at sea. We are also able to have a much more personal relationship with clients and crews, for example I personally know many of the top officers and many of those have been with us for around 25 years.”
Indeed, the company has established a proven tracked record and speciality in crewing, where it works in concert with Naess Ship Management in Amsterdam, Pearl Grace in Manila as well as with agents in Shanghai, Malta, Mumbai and Odessa. As such DORIS can currently count on more than 750 qualified seafarers on its roster. Furthermore, from its offices in the Philippines, the Sub-Continent and Eastern Europe the company trains crew to the levels required by customers and management. This is a top priority since the safety and health of those working ‘at the sharp end’ affects the products and services DORIS provides. The company recognises that only by employing seafarers who have the right calibre and possess the right qualifications and professional attitude can the ‘best’ products and assured services be provided, as Nicolas explains: “We have a roster of crewing agents that have worldwide coverage and we prune crew when we think individuals are not adequate. As a small company we are able to maintain contact with our crewmembers when they are on holiday and onboard ship. We also split these services into two groups of ten vessels. In the first of which we fully crew and manage as if we own the ships, while the next group we do the crewing only. So we have two crewing teams – one for each group of ships.”
Through the company’s years of experience and its shape focus on efficient operation, DORIS has acquired an in-depth knowledge of the container shipping and bulk carrier sectors. As such while the global financial crisis beginning in 2007 had far reaching implications, leading to the extreme depression of the container shipping market, DORIS proved to be both diverse and agile enough to navigate this volatile period and continue to grow in anticipation of the inevitable return to buoyancy of container shipping. Therefore in responding to these challenging market conditions DORIS has increased its fleet in the bulk carrier sector and worked to increase efficiency across the business in recent months. “During the beginning of 2015 we made investments into several newbuilds, which represent an increase in volume. Recently we have done a little less consultancy work and concentrated more on reshuffling the company’s management structure, implementing various improvements, such as new software. We are also increasing our drive into acquiring new tonnage for specific customers,” Nicolas says.
“The four vessels that were delivered at the beginning of 2015 were built in China and we have a fairly substantial amount of warranty and claim works in place,” he expands. “We have also have had to double up substantially our claim department because in contrast to the container trade, the bulk trade meets a lot of claims from shippers looking to find fault with the ship, whereas in the container sector you very rarely receive a claim.”
As the company looks to the latter months of 2015 and beyond it will seek to consolidate on its recent vessel deliveries and further investments down the years, while using its relatively strong market position to manage further growth, as Nicolas concludes: “Presently we are digesting the growth we had in the bulk side and in recent months we have taken over the management of or built eight new ships. The effects of the crisis are still being felt, but we are lucky to not have loans to worry about, we just have to pay for the company’s running costs. This is a fairly comfortable position to be in and it gives us a little time to check the market for extraordinary prices for good bulk ships. I would also like to increase our fleet of container feeder ships of 1800 TEU by around ten to 12 vessels and to keep good sea staff – that will remain the most important thing.”
Ship manager specialising in container vessels and bulk carriers
Growing market presence
Four new vessels delivered in 2015