In his 30 years at Stena Bulk, Jan Sonesson has never had a boring day at work. When he retires this autumn, he will be able to look back on a long and exciting career, the last eight years as Vice President Fleet Operations of the company.

When Jan Sonesson began at Stena Bulk 30 years ago, The company had a few old tankers of varying quality, fewer than ten employees and an office in Gothenburg.

“The company has expanded enormously since I began here. Now we have an enormous fleet consisting of only quality ships, ten times as many employees and offices also in Copenhagen, Houston, Singapore and Shanghai”, says Jan Sonesson.

In 1974, he signed on the Broström-owned Hirado, a small 12,000 ton general cargo ship, that sailed all over the world. The first trip went to Malaysia and then on to Thailand, Borneo, Japan and home again via the Panama Canal. Since the Suez Canal was closed, they also had to round the Cape of Good Hope.

“The voyage took four months but I enjoyed myself so much that I hoped that I would get another voyage as soon as I arrived home”, says Jan Sonesson, who, after a couple of years, went on to study and qualify as a master mariner.

After 13 years at sea, he began working at Stena Bulk as a dry-cargo operator. This was followed by jobs that included commercial operator, Manager Commercial Operations, General Manager WW Commercial Operations and, finally, Vice President Fleet Operations.

“One of the things I’m most proud of is that we’ve built up this commercial operation that has such a good reputation on the market. We have always taken care to be honest and upfront, at the same time as we’ve made a big thing of being able to provide our customers with fast service. I’m also proud of all the good employees and colleagues I’ve helped to take on, especially our current President and CEO Eric Hånell, and that we now have a good mix with almost half our employees being women”, says Jan Sonesson.

Today, Stena Bulk controls a fleet of some 100 vessels, 42 of which are owned by Stena Bulk and Concordia Maritime and for which Jan Sonesson is responsible. Through the years, he has also been involved in the construction of around 50 new vessels. An exciting occasion was when he was involved in fitting out the Stena Arctica for a large interdisciplinary expedition to the South Pole.

“When I saw all the equipment that was to be included, I realised that the one week we had at our disposal would never be enough. But by hiring a lashing company, which worked around the clock, we succeeded”, says Jan Sonesson.

Next on the agenda are a few dockings and breaking in Patrik Svahn, General Manager, Commercial Operations, Crude & Fuel at the Houston office, who will take over when he retires in October.

“It feels reassuring to hand the reins over to him.  Personally, I’m beginning to get used to the idea of not working anymore. The biggest plan now is not have any big plans and, instead, do more of the things I enjoy such as playing golf, going for walks and being out in nature”, says Jan Sonesson.

About Jan Sonesson

Name and title: Jan Sonesson, Vice President Fleet Operations, Stena Bulk. Retired the 1 October after 30 years at Stena Bulk.

Age: 63 år.

Family: Wife and two children, 33 and 29.

Interests: Golf, skiing, trekking trips and walks – about 100,000 steps per week. Is very interested in cooking and wine.Two of his favourite wines are Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Brunello di Montalcino.

Greatest strength: Easy to collaborate with different types of people.


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