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Interview/Ace Chartering: Sang-Soo Sohn, president
“Make full use of Maritime Exchange Center”
Wednesday, December 21, 2011, 13:42:23 Paul Yoon

Market report to be published regularly from Q1 next year

Sang-Soo Sohn, president of Ace Chartering, is a person of a clean and gentle image. He has such an image not only outwardly but also in working manner. He is an old ship-broking hand, who has built up his career since he finished his seafaring service after graduation from Navigation Dept. (42nd year class) of Korea Maritime University. He started ship-broking business Oct., 1993 when he came ashore off from seafaring on ships of Pan Ocean. It was July, 2005 that Mr. Sohn opened his own company to start gaining reputation for being top-broker in panamax bulker sector. His “long-cherished dream of opening a ship-broking firm in competition with overseas leading ship-brokers” came true.

The screening committee named president Sang-Soo Sohn as ‘the Person of the Year 2011 Korea Maritime Press’ because he is considered to have grown his business in a depressed market without losing himself as well as leading the ship-broking service in future. Another consideration the committee gave to the naming is that Ace Chartering tops the panamax bulker broking sector in Korea.

President Sohn said in the opening interview: “The honor of winning the award should be shared with our staffs. I have not achieved it alone because this is a result of collaboration with them, I feel. I wanted to build up a company in which I could work together with my staffs in opening it. I felt that I should treat them as my family members and they should be compensated for what they made their efforts. All my staffs including myself are playing a mentor to each other. We promise sharing life as a family member in the company. When a newcomer joins our company, he or she becomes immediately assimilated with such family mood.”

Ace Chartering’s achievements have remarkably grown as a result of its employees’ devotion in solid unity. What is more, the company’s concentration on one sector of panamax bulker chartering paid off, recording a sharp business growth since 2006. This brings a reputation to the company for topping the panamax sector in Korea since 2007.

Mr. Sohn’s management philosophy and his company moto is “Righteousness comes first before profit.” This principle stipulates that the company’s interest should not be harmful to its principals. Under the principle, the company has shared the pains with its principals placed in hardship since the global financial crisis because of overdue brokerages. Nevertheless, since the market turned worse in 2009, Mr. Sohn has been aggressively pursuing campaigns to help needy neighbors. Presently, he is involved with various campaigns including “Helping child heads of household,” Helping the disabled,” “Helping unfortunate neighbors,” “Supports for maritime academy scholarship,” and others, contributing a considerable amount of donation to such campaigns, it is revealed.

it is noteworthy that Ace Chartering is gearing up for the future market, expanding its manpower amid difficulties. It has already recruited a new broker whose service is due to start upcoming Jan. next year, and plans to additionally hire an experienced broker. This new employment of staffs adds to the largest ship-broking hands in Korea specialized in panamax bulker sector.

Ace Chartering boasts of its young talents working dynamically. Though young, the brokers are of top-quality in each field. On this backdrop, the company is reputed for topping in panamax bulker sector in Korea.

President Sohn also takes a post of the auditor for the Korea Ship-brokers Association (KSA) at present. For this reason, he has a special attachment to development of the KSA, taking an active part in it. Such his activities boost up his position to the next generation to lead Korea’s ship-broking service in years ahead. He opened his words, asked of his activities in the KSA and his vision on its development:

“The government should allow Korean ship-brokers to deal with FFA, lowering the barrier prohibiting it. The high barrier hampers them from pursuing the FFA business. Another important thing is that the Maritime Exchange Information Center (MEIF) established at Busan by Busan City Administration in collaboration with the KSA is scheduled to publish a weekly dry bulk market report in Q1, next year. It plans to issue freight index covering all areas in the East North Asia. This is the first innovative move, which I think will mark a big milestone in history of developing shipping service in Korea. I look forward to supports from the KSA members as well as from non-members and to their active participation in it. I will add my efforts to the best performance of the MEIF.

President Sohn called upon Korean broking players to give a big hand to the projects the KSA (chaired by Jung-Ho Yeum) is undertaking as I am convinced these would not only raise up the image of Korean ship-brokers but also make big contribution to developing Korean shipping service.

He added: “The market will be getting harsher next year. Certainly, the next year will first see the excessive supply of vessels. To make the matter worse, there was no demolition of tonnages in big amount. Though the market was expected in the beginning of this year to see 26 million dwt scrapped for this year, the latest brisk market in the cape sector in Q4 prevented demolition of any tonnage at all. At such a point of crisis, the government should provide supports for the shipbuilders in the doldrums. With KAMCO Fund for ship funding expired, alternative plans should be sought.”

Closing the interview, President Sohn urged the Korean government to hammer out a positive shipping rehabilitation plan, reminding it that the Chinese government and others are aggressively assisting their shipping players.

Paul Yoon Archives  
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