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life in shipping by Esben Poulsson

Esben Poulsson – A Life in Shipping

Esben Poulsson is one of the nicest people in shipping.  He is in fact the epitomy of the word gentleman. In his book which is an ode to maritime, Esben Poulsson describes the “irresistible force” of the sea in his life, which started in Vancouver and led him to Hong Kong, London, Copenhagen and more, ending up with his current residence in Singapore. From yacht racing and trout fishing to shipbroking, the call of the sea has always been strong in Poulsson’s life, despite having no immediate family connection in shipping (unusual for this industry!).

‘A Life in Shipping’, the proceeds of which go to Mission to Seafarers, is the ultimate in success storytelling, highlighting not just his business achievements but his love for sailing, his family life, and his great sporting prowess too. You can buy a copy here:

Poulsson’s early life is documented with family photographs, memories, and school pictures, giving a flavour of the time – there’s a nice story of his first experience of flying by aeroplane to move to Canada at age 12, and upon arriving and being driven to his new home, being floored by seeing electric car windows for the first time.

The book faithfully follows Poulsson’s early forays into the working maritime world, complete with resumes and offer letters dating back to the late 1960s when his career began, and his settling down and getting married and buying a house in Wimbledon for the incredible price of £30,000 (which no doubt seemed a fortune at the time).

The book, although predominantly about Poulsson’s professional career, is peppered with chapters about his love of yacht racing, which give a sense of his love for all things maritime. The photographs of these sailing experiences bring life to his stories.

Another love of Poulsson’s, and clearly documented here, is travel – you get a real sense that he is comfortable on the move, whether for leisure or for work. Now in his 70s, the book closes with his most recent experiences, but Poulsson also reflects on how starting out as a broker gave him a huge amount of maritime knowledge from the get-go. If yacht racing is Poulsson’s favourite pastime, shipping has his heart – this book is really a love song to the industry and all its facets. It’s a great read for those within the shipping industry, but also perfect for those just joining it. As Poulsson himself says, it’s “a truly global club.”

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