G E Shipping owes its success to the foresightedness of two families – the Sheths and the Bhiwandiwallas, who started their own shipping line to help expand the reach of their trading businesses. In 1948, after obtaining the mothballed Liberty ship, SS Fort Elice, G E Shipping began its maiden voyage under the entrepreneurial genius of Vasant J. Sheth and steered ahead confidently, tasting new waters and exploring new avenues. From providing sea-logistics support in its initial years to venturing in tramp shipping, to diversifying into offshore oil field services, much against the industry norms, the company has often swum against the tide and in the process, turned the tides in its favour, thereby laying a path for others to follow.
The founding fathers of G E Shipping were great visionaries who excelled despite all odds and laid the foundation of – The Great Eastern Shipping Co. Ltd. The Company was promoted by Mulji (Sheth) brothers and Bhiwandiwalla family.
Mr. Maneklal Ujamshi Mulji
Maneklal Ujamshi Mulji was involved in textile business and later, in the establishment of an efficient network for the distribution of sugar. He was a man known for his organizing capability. His role in the efficient distribution of sugar along with his brother Jagjivan had earned him the sobriquet of ‘Sugar King’. He supported and helped Jagjivan, in establishing G E Shipping in its initial years.
Mr. Ardeshir Hormusji Bhiwandiwalla
Ardeshir Hormusji Bhiwandiwalla, the financing partner of the Ujamshi brothers supported the initial endeavours of the Sheth brothers as sugar traders and together they emerged as the largest sugar-importing firm in India. He helped G E Shipping grow right from the acquisition of its first ship to its transformation into a reputed firm. The propelling force of G E Shipping as its first Chairman from 1948-1973, the company honoured him by embossing his initials AHB on the company’s house flag and funnel of all its vessels.
Mr. Jagjivan Ujamshi Mulji
Jagjivan Ujamshi Mulji, was a businessman by instinct, nationalist by thinking and a humanist by tradition. His first name, ‘Jag’ translates to ‘the universe’, and adorns as a prefix to every ship of G E Shipping. Initially into textile business, he eventually started a sugar-trading firm in partnership with the Bhiwandiwallas. Popular as ‘Sugar Bapa’, he fathered the culture of fair-price shops for an efficient distribution network of sugar in the country. It was in the sugar importing business that he acquired commendable expertise in the business of chartering ships, which eventually helped in laying the foundation of the company.
Mr. Vasant J. Sheth
Vasant J. Sheth, son of Jagjivan Ujamshi Mulji, was the prime architect in setting up and running G E Shipping. Under his vision, dynamism, entrepreneurial skills and business acumen, G E Shipping pioneered tramp shipping in India. A spokesman for the freedom of operation for Indian shipping, he waged the campaign for almost four decades. Beyond business, Vasant actively promoted the cause of maritime education and was involved in a number of philanthropic activities.