How I Work: Sourav Hore

“I am enjoying it. I want to see the company grow bigger, as I am ambitious”, quipped Sourav Hore, Director and Co-Founder of Central Ship Management when he sat down for a relaxing mid-afternoon interview in his sprawling office in Singapore’s Lower Delta Road.

Indeed, if an ambition is gauged by how lofty it is, there really is no naysaying to where and when Mr Hore wants Central Ship Management to be in the future, or near future.

His ultimate aim is to have it publicly listed, which if and when it does come to pass would mean his ultimate crowning glory and definitely a far cry from the hardscrabble days of February 2018 when he first set up his company.

“Initially, it was difficult…even now there is some difficulty (and I am) doubling up in administration and business development etc”, said Mr Hore wistfully, his eyes darting across the conference room in his office as if to indicate the immeasurable scale of the colossal tasks that had sped past him.

Yet for the man who has made building the company his life’s mission, it has all been worthwhile. Working long hours and well past the time when the sun has set in Singapore, typifies, what he calls, his typical working day.

“Sometimes I go for a jog”, interjected Mr Hore breaking the conversational thread and clearly stating the obvious it is not, all work and no play.

Still, if there was indeed something he learned from his experiences it was how the supposed ‘joy’ of a pioneering spirit had energised him. Learning everything about starting a company to finally taking it onto the acclaimed road of the ‘gilded’ cage of a public listing, is not something for the faint and feeble hearted.

In shades of legendary US automobile titan Lee Iacocca whom he credits as his role model, he is nonplussed about laying bare his overall goal.And that is about aiming for a turnover of $7million though what the timeline for that achievement, is now anybody’s guess.

Still there is no doubting the steely determination behind the soft spoken, bespectacled and avuncular Mr Hore who, with his calming persona, seems every bit a self-assured person betraying nothing of a harried individual in a hurry.

Like the sweetness of fragrance which is what his name means in his native Bengali, the draw of throngs of people moving about and other peeves is not what he is particularly thrilled about.

“I do not like crowded places and I try to avoid the Central Business District (CBD)”, which if anything, is the Singapore equivalent of London’s Oxford Street and laying bare a very private side to the person whose only mission is, all about taking Central Ship Management where its destiny is calling out.

Though he does enjoy a pint of beer or two with business associates who come calling, Mr Hore to the core is nothing of the free-wheeling, whisky swilling party animal one could have naively expected of someone heading a major shipmanagement firm.

“I am a private man”, he said and by that what matters most to him is his family. Mr Hore credits his wife as being the guiding light in his life and in his career.

For a man who grew up in his native Bengal adoring nature and the hills, such a disposition as wanting to enjoy the privacy of his surroundings is hardly anything new. Being hardwired about the serenity and the beauty of the wild than the habitue of the urban sprawl is just what marks out a city slicker from someone like Mr Hore.

That temperament and urge for privacy provides the clearest idea yet to the self-confessed vegetarian’s original preference to either, be an artist or a musician, if shipping had not cruised into his life.

Yet, it is shipping that today defines Mr Hore in a profession that came by through default, and one in which he knows he can hardly enjoy the serenity he once found in the hills of Bengal.

Standing by honesty and integrity is his hallmark, he says. And that is unsurprising because what Mr Hore seeks from the running of this company is unquestionable team management and that is cue for him to “take” as he emphasises, “everyone on the journey”.

And that journey means taking on the challenges that comes with the job.

One of the key challenges he now identifies is the competence level in bunker barges.

“Competence level of bunker barges is lower than ship management,” bewailed Mr Hore. That could either be of a lack of an oversight in the training for such professionals, or simply a lack of professionals in the bunkering industry.

Though that could be easily overcome by employing Russian and Indian crew, these professional in his view “are becoming expensive”.

Cost considerations are a major concern now, declared Mr Hore, underscoring a proverbial grievance in the world’s shipping and maritime industry, apart from the obsession with clean marine fuel.

Still as matters go, Mr Hore does not believe that automation will anytime soon displace manpower, for nothing more than the absolute indispensability of the human touch; or if the shipping community will take to automation like the manor born.

And that is clearly despite him saying to SMI of his avowed wish to take on more projects.

“We will manage more ships (as) we are negotiating with ship owners,” he said, making no bones that his ambition far exceeds his standing in the industry.