Founded in 1983 by Mr. Nicolas Wirth, a graduate in maritime studies, Doris Maritime Services SA (DORIS) is a Geneva Switzerland based firm that specialises in the management of ocean-going vessels. Named after one of Greek mythology’s goddesses of the sea, DORIS is primarily focused on the provision of ship management services to the bulk carrier and container ship markets. Within these business segments the company provides a broad range of services such as crewing, technical management, inspection and survey to recognised industry standards; it also provides customers with sales and purchase, newbuild supervision, floating structure management, back office support, chartering and post-fixture as well as operational and technical risk assessment operations.
Using his 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, Nicolas has differentiated DORIS from its competitors as it is able to provide all products and services on an intimate and personal level. This handson way of working not only cements strong working relationships between the company and its clients and crew but also ensures the business runs in a smooth and efficient manner.
Discussing the benefits of running a small, close-knit business with Shipping & Marine magazine in September 2015, Nicolas said: “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. 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.”
When asked the reasons for this employee loyalty, Nicolas continued: “We pay on time, we have reasonably good vessels and our employment conditions are good. We also don’t change our crewing agents and have great communication between vessels and crew; ultimately, we are a strong team.” Working in concert with Naess Ship Management in Amsterdam, Peal Grace in Manila and offices and agents in Malta, Mumbai and Odessa, DORIS’ crewing services currently has over 750 qualified safarers on its rosters all striving to deliver the company’s vision of ‘ship management at its best.’
Since last appearing in S&M, Nicolas comments that the ISO: 9000 certified company has been laying low due to a slightly depressed market and has instead focused on investment: “We have been fixing all of our ships, which we did mostly in 2015 on time charter. Since we last spoke we still have 11 ships that we fully control and nine for which we provide crew management and other services. Throughout 2015 we were working on a container feeder project with dual LNG and IFO propulsion vessel that we hope will come to fruition this year; we are also currently raising equity to acquire additional bulk carriers while the market has hit historical lows and we are looking for a recovery.”
Alongside these developments, DORIS also put the four newbuilds it added to its portfolio into operation. Added in response to challenging market conditions, the four bulk carriers have helped boost efficiency across the business and are performing well. “These vessels have added some stability from a cash flow point of view as these ships tend to trade on time charter,” says Nicolas. Delivered at the start of 2015, the four vessels were built in China; in line with their arrival, DORIS doubled up its claim department to prepare for any potential claims from shippers, as Nicolas noted: “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 Nicolas continues to lead a team of highly qualified, dedicated and experienced employees in the technical, commercial and financial management of vessels that have been entrusted to the well-established firm, the future looks positive for DORIS despite the current market depression. Indeed, although the effects of the crisis are still being felt within the shipping industry, the company benefits from being in a strong financial position of 100 per cent cash and no loans; market rates simply pays for vessels own running costs until recovery arises.
While it seeks to consolidate on the recent vessel deliveries, DORIS intends to raise equity and use its strong market position to manage further growth. With the current climate offering the perfect opportunity to increase fleet sizes, over the next 12 months it is likely DORIS will shed its older tonnage and add new vessels to its fleet.
- Ship manager specialising in container and bulk carriers
- Four new vessels delivered in 2015
- Fleet of 20 vessels