Tomini Shipping has been a relatively low-profile player since it was first formed in Karachi by cotton trader Mian Kader Baksh in 1952, ostensibly to move the company’s cotton to buyers around the world.
Shipping proved more profitable, and the company grew quickly, and over the years has managed to weather many storms including the nationalization of the Pakistani shipping industry in 1974, which cost it half its fleet.
Tomini subsequently shifted its shipping operations to London. It began rebuilding its fleet and by the late 1990s had a sizeable dry bulk fleet. A move to Dubai was made in 2004.
The company cashed in on the shipping boom of the early 2000s, selling off the bulk of its fleet before the markets collapsed spectacularly in 2008. It then sat quietly on the sidelines, keeping a mere toehold in shipping until it decided to make a serious return to the dry bulk sector in 2013.
In the interim, Chairman Imtiaz Shaikh spent time on other interests, including building up his collection of classic cars and property. Both of these have turned into profitable sideline ventures. Vintage cars hold their value far better than ships, and some of the 100 or so in the Tomini showroom are now worth more than $1m, with a few valued at as much as $3m.
Like all true businessmen, Sheikh is willing to entertain good offers on his cars, although TradeWinds is told that he has his favorites that he would never sell. The company remains a family-owned business, with Shaikh being part of the third generation of leadership. It estimates that it has owned and operated over 120 ships during the course of its history.