Ocean Shipbrokers has made its first move into gas by setting up a new department to be headed up by former Epic Gas chartering manager Mark Jewell.

The London-headquartered brokerage, which has built up a strong reputation in the tanker sector, announced its move into LPG late on Thursday, adding that further appointments will be made “in due course”.

Ocean Shipbrokers director Eddie Coulson told TradeWinds that he had known Jewell personally for around 30 years, adding: “He is a very good fit for us.”

This will not be Jewell’s first stint in broking. He kicked off his shipping career in the early 1980s working with shipbroker Howard Houlder & Partners, before moving to Hong Kong with what was then Simpson Spence and Young.

In 2011, Jewell set up a Dubai office for brokers ACM where he worked for three years before returning to the UK.

Coulson said this is very early stages for the Ocean Shipbrokers on its move into the gas shipping sector but it is an area the company will look to grow.

He said initially Jewell will be assisted by someone internally but he envisages the company hiring more people.

“We will expand whenever we can,” Coulson said. “If people want to join us in the near future then we’re more than happy to take them on.”

He said Ocean is open-minded about who it employs but that any growth will be client-led.

Asked what was attractive about the LPG sector, Coulson replied: “The dollar.”

“We see an expanding market and an opportunity for an LPG desk to make some money,” he said. “We are always there to take a market opportunity.”

On the possibility of further gas growth into LNG, he said that if someone approached the company with an opportunity to open an LNG desk Ocean would consider it. But he added that it does not make sense to hire people at any cost just to have a name above the door.

“We will grow organically,” he said. “The market will lead us. We are always there to expand into different areas when the opportunity arises as we’ve done with S&P. When the opportunity arises, we take advantage.”

Ocean Shipbrokers was set up in 2006 and now employs 25 in London, six in Geneva and has staff in offices in Dubai and Xiamen, China.