Launched in May this year Ben Ognibene has partnered with private equity firm American Working Capital to form tanker commercial management firm Concord Maritime.

Ognibene, who resigned as CEO of Heidmar last September after 13 years with the company, reckons that the dire tanker markets this year will play into Concord Maritime’s favour.

“We think there is a void in the marketplace for a truly independent third party operator focused exclusively on commercial performance in the crude tanker segments,” Ognibene tells Maritime CEO in an exclusive interview. “Additionally, with tanker rates at historical lows owners are faced with challenging working capital requirements operating on the spot markets. TC rates are too low to lock-in for an extended period of time.”

Concord Maritime is currently operating two aframax tankers in the Asian markets and is in discussions on several projects for the commercial control of several additional crude tankers.

After a dire 2018 to date for tanker owners, Ognibene is forecasting for a pick up in the sector in the coming months.

“We expect rates to improve over the coming winter,” he says, elaborating: “Unless the vast majority of vessels are modified to meet regulatory requirements, and we do not think they will be, the market will be dislocated and opportunities will arise for experienced spot operators. We think it will be an interesting time to have exposure to the crude tanker markets.”

Last week, Concord appointed Jim Hurley to the role of chief operating officer, bringing with him 29 years of tanker chartering and management experience.