Navix Line, of Japan, and Bermuda-based World-Wide Shipping have agreed to set up a Panama-based joint venture company to charter dry-bulk carriers and tankers from affiliates. They plan to operate the vessels through a second company incorporated in Singapore, where both Navix Line and World-Wide Shipping have a presence. World-Wide, headed by Helmut Sohmen, controls one of the world's largest bulk shipping fleets, and places emphasises on VLCCs (very large crude carriers). Interests associated with the Sohmen family have significant holdings in the listed Swedish tanker operator N&T Argonaut, and in International United Shipping and Investment Co, with which China State Shipbuilding Corp and Sinotrans also are affiliated. Navix, founded in 1989 by the merger of Yamashita-Shinnihon Steamship Co and Japan Line, carries about 20 per cent of all industrial raw materials imports to Japan. It also operates both dry-bulk carriers and tankers, and is 1.35 per cent-owned by Sohmen family interests. World-Wide Shipping and Navix Line have had chartering relationships stretching back over many decades. 'We are delighted with this further link,' Navix president Noriaki Hori said. The Panama company is to be called Searex Maritime Co, while the Singapore operating company is Searex Maritime Agency.