BW Maritime

History

In 1955, Yue-Kong (Y.K.) Pao bought his first vessel, a 27-year-old coal-burning freighter renamed the Golden Alpha. Twenty-five years later, the company house flag was flying on board nearly 200 vessels, the largest fleet ever assembled in private ownership. In 1978, Y.K. Pao was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, and in 2003 he was selected by readers of shipping magazine Fairplay as “the most influential person in shipping in 120 years”.

Today, the BW Group remains a major player in the maritime industry, managing the world’s largest privately owned fleet of Very Large Gas Carriers (VLGCs) and the second largest fleet of Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) units.

1950s: Small Beginnings

1950s: Small Beginnings

Sir Y.K. Pao (Pao Yue-kong, 1918-1991) rose from modest origins and started his shipping empire with HK$20,000 which he and his family brought from Shanghai when they moved to Hong Kong. A modest start began with the purchase of a 8,200 DWT coal carrier renamed the "Golden Alpha".

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1960s-1970s: Riding the Waves

1960s-1970s: Riding the Waves

Post-war industrialization propelled World-Wide’s rapid growth. By 1979, World-Wide had a fleet of over 200 vessels, managing the largest independently-owned bulk shipping fleet in the world with a total tonnage of 20.5 million DWT.

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1980s: Entering Turbulent Waters

1980s: Entering Turbulent Waters

World-Wide adapts to changing business environment. Sir Y.K. Pao retired in 1986, and his son-in-law Dr Helmut Sohmen became Chairman of World-Wide Shipping. Sohmen continued his father-in-law’s disciplined approach to business.

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1990s: Treading Water and Renewal

1990s: Treading Water and Renewal

In the 1990s, the market languished. With little optimism in the short term, some owners started to consider leaving the market. The decade culminated with the purchase of N&T Argonaut.

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2000s: A New Identity

2000s: A New Identity

In 2003, World-Wide acquired Norway's Bergesen d.y. ASA, the world’s largest gas carrier operator. Bergesen Worldwide was established in October 2003, and re-branded BW in 2005. BW Group continues to be a leading player in the maritime industry.

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