Wearing the Maersk Tankers cap

Satoru Tagami, Maersk Tankers’ representative in Japan, is the company’s sole employee in the country. His unique position helps him maintain the company’s relationships with partners and promote Maersk Tankers’ service offerings in Japan.


Tagami-san, or Snoopy to his colleagues, has been with Maersk since 1986; first with Maersk Broker, and then at Maersk Bulk Japan from 1991-2002. He then joined Maersk Tankers, working with the company’s crude carriers, product tankers as well as the LPG and LNG carriers. As the company’s representative, he has assisted Maersk Tankers in securing partnerships in Japan the past sixteen years.

The shipping veteran works to maintain and strengthen the company’s partnerships with local stakeholders in Japan. Currently, Maersk Tankers has four Japanese ship owners as pool partners. The potential partners in Japan are the Japanese trading houses, banks, ship yards and other Japanese ship owners. “In Japan, there are between 700 and 800 ship owners across the shipping industry; out of these, there are 30 to 50 tanker vessel owners that have the potential to become partners with Maersk Tankers,” says Tagami-san. He meets regularly with potential partners throughout Japan to show them what they gain from joining Maersk Tankers’ pools.

In his own words, Tagami-san is what you could call a “countryside boy.” Being from Kyushu, the southernmost main island in Japan, he was surrounded by the many shipping ports there. “In a way, I grew up in the port. My interest in shipping, and my love of fishing, comes from my childhood by the sea,” says Tagami-san. His entire career, spanning over forty years, has been in the shipping industry.

Coming to the tanker side of shipping was a natural progression from his work with Maersk Broker and Maersk Bulk Japan, where he mainly handled bulk, PCTC and container carriers. While tanker vessels differ from dry bulk carriers, the knowledge base he developed over the years fed directly into his work in Maersk Tankers. “I like to say I am ‘wearing the Maersk Tankers cap’; having worked for different business units in Maersk, I think of my role now as helping to build the future Maersk Tankers under the new ownership of A.P. Møller Holding.”

“Our strategy is essential for my relationships with partners,” he continues. “It is important that we show existing and potential partners what Maersk Tankers’ 90-year heritage stands for. The company name is well-known, and there is a high level of trust that comes with its record of safe and reliable energy transportation to meet customers and societies’ demands.”

As Maersk Tankers’ representative in Japan, Tagami-san is uniquely positioned to visit Japanese ship owners that can benefit from the company’s service offerings. “Active Position Taking is a new way to look at positioning in the tanker market, bringing in algorithmic trading, and it makes Maersk Tankers’ commercial management services attractive; smaller ship owners can place their vessels in the pools, gaining earnings from the pool’s performance even in a tough market.” Combined with a Cost Leadership position as one of the largest fleets in the industry, Maersk Tankers’ scale enables the company to secure, for example, lower bunker costs. Taken together, the pillars of the strategy create an attractive value proposition for partners in Japan considering joining the pools.

Our strategy is essential for my relationships with partners."

Tagami Satoru, Representative, Maersk Tankers Japan

Attracting new partners and retaining existing partners is essential to realising the target laid out in the Taking Lead strategy. “Our partner relationships are crucial,” says Tagami-san. “Ensuring partners continue to experience the benefits of being in our pools – the opportunity for increased earnings, flexibility and transparency – requires nurturing these relationships.” With so many potential partners in Japan, how Maersk Tankers maintains existing partnerships will signal to other ship owners that Maersk Tankers is a valuable partner in the tanker industry.

Tagami-san exemplifies the dedication Maersk Tankers employees have for delivering quality services to partners and customers. Maintaining and strengthening these relationships is an essential part of the company strategy.