Hong Kong's maritime sector is seeing one of its periodic people reshuffles with the move of two industry ship finance veterans to Singapore and three leading shipping lawyers to new firms.
The most high-profile departure is Ken Cambie, who is joining Quantum Pacific Shipping Services, a maritime venture in Singapore planned by Israel's richest man, Idan Ofer.
Cambie steps down as chief financial officer of Orient Overseas (International), the Tung family-controlled shipping, logistics and property investment group, on June 1 to join Quantum Pacific as finance chief on June 2. He became chief financial officer at OOIL in 2007 after 20 years at Citibank.
Among the other changes, Terence Yiu, the managing director for shipping and offshore finance in Asia for BNP Paribas, has just moved to Singapore. Ship finance and sale and purchase lawyer Alastair MacAulay will join law firm Clifford Chance on June 1 after leaving Mayer Brown JSM on April 30. Fellow lawyer Conor Warde, who specialises in maritime compliance and regulatory issues, is joining Clyde & Co, while shipping lawyer Jonathan Silver is leaving Norton Rose.
Cambie is joining Quantum Pacific following a decision by Idan, who is reportedly worth US$6.5 billion, and elder brother Eyal to equally divide the Ofer family's shipping interests between them. This comes about two years after the death of the brothers' industrialist father, Sammy Ofer, in June 2011.
The shipping interests include Singapore-based Tanker Pacific, Zodiac Maritime Agencies and container line Zim Integrated Shipping Services.
Industry insiders said Quantum Pacific was being formed to oversee the existing Tanker Pacific fleet along with ships transferred from Zodiac.
Tanker Pacific operates 29 ships, including 300,000 deadweight tonne (dwt) supertankers and smaller tankers of between 46,000 and 160,000 dwt, with a further 15 ships on order. By comparison, Zodiac has more than 130 ships.
One source said some of the container ships and bulk carriers would be transferred from Zodiac to equalise the assets.
Sources said Quantum Pacific aimed to have a fleet of 104 ships.
"The main function of Tanker Pacific is as a ship management company so the name will remain but it will be under the umbrella of Quantum Pacific," said one insider with knowledge of the operation.
Well-placed observers expected Cambie to also advise on the turnaround of Zim, Israel's largest shipping company, which posted an accounting loss to shareholders of US$433 million last year. Zim initially planned to launch an initial public offering in Hong Kong in 2008 but cancelled the issue due to the global financial crisis, although revived then cancelled the idea in 2011 after it returned to profitability.