The shipping industry is renowned for containing some the world’s wealthiest people. A multitude of rich lists from 2014 all showed that last year was no different.
Charting in at number 4 in the UK, Norwegian born shipping magnate John Fredriksen remains one of the richest men in the world with a fortune of $9.6 billion. Beginning by trading oil in the 1960s in Beirut, it wasn’t long before he’d purchased his own tankers and established Frontline Ltd. Still running his empire from his London mansion, Fredriksen shows no sign of relinquishing his business completely even at the age of 69.
The Ofer brothers also rank highly. Idan’s Guernsey-based Quantum Pacific Group holds one of the world’s largest privately owned shipping groups, providing him with a net worth of $3.6 billion. Eyal, whose net worth is $6.8 billion, is also a big player in the shipping industry as chairman of Zodiac Maritime Agencies, a privately-held London-based shipping corporation whose fleet exceeds 130 vessels. As the sons of shipping magnate Sammy Offer, who died in 2011 and was once Israel’s richest man, it is no surprise that these brothers have a clear entrepreneurial streak. Not to mention they each inherited half of their father’s vast art collection, one of the world’s most magnificent.
The lists continue with names such as Hapag-Lloyd shareholder Klaus-Michael Keene ($10.4bn), Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) magnate Gianluigi Aponte ($6.3bn) and shipping investor George Soros ($23bn). One of the most interesting things to have emerged from 2014 is that it is no longer the shipping owners themselves who are starting to dominate the wealth of the industry, but the investors. Michael Dell ($17bn), David Tipper ($10bn) and Steve Cohen ($11bn) all owe vast sums of money to the industry. Whether investor or owner, however, shipping remains a very wealthy industry.