Svitzer appoints new Managing Director for Australia

The Maersk-owned towage and salvage unit Svitzer appoints a new Managing Director for the company's biggest and most problematic market. A strong foundation for a sustainable performance in the years ahead, says CEO Robert Uggla (photo).

Photo: Maersk

Steffen Risager will take over as Managing Director of Svitzer's activities in Australia. Steffen Risager has served as COO for the company in Australia since February 2015. He will on May 1st 2016 replace Mark Malone, who has served as Managing Director for Svitzer Australia for the past five years, informs Svitzer in a press release on Monday.

"Mark has successfully navigated our Australian business through a very difficult period – one characterized by increased competition and growing economic uncertainties, both locally and globally – and laid a strong foundation for a sustainable performance in the years ahead.  Mark has also been instrumental in winning and implementing several important and significant terminal towage contracts with some of the world’s largest energy suppliers, including Chevron, Oil Search and Inpex," says Svitzer CEO Robert Uggla in a comment on the management reshuffle in Australia.

Since taking over as COO close to one year ago, Steffen Risager has participated in an overhaul of numerous difficult elements in Svitzer's Australia business, notes Robert Uggla.

Robert Uggla is now launching the strategy for Svitzer

From being a promising market, still Svitzer's biggest alongside Europe, with close to 40 percent of the company's business coming from these two continents, Australia has in the past years been a toxic market characterized by overcapacity and high costs, fierce competition in ports and in the offshore sector for towage and salvage companies. These developments made a stock-listed carrier such as Hong Kong-based Pacific Basin withdraw from the market and sell its entire towage business at a considerable loss to Dutch Smit Lamnalco in December 2014.

About a month ago, in an interview with ShippingWatch, CEO Robert Uggla explained that the problems in Australia have yet to be fully solved.

"We are not finished yet. We still have challenges in Australia, but we have come a long way. The results show that we are seeing improvements," said Robert Uggla. Since taking over as CEO, he has impaired the company's investment in Adsteam Marine, which Svitzer acquired back in 2007, by around USD 500 million.

Read more about Svitzer

Svitzer orders four new tugboats

Svitzer lands vital support for new collective agreement

Svitzer in decisive showdown on its key market 

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