Thursday, 31 January 2013

Klas Brogren (1956-2013)

This morning I received the very sad news from Halmstad in Sweden that my friend Klas Brogren had died. Klas was the founder, owner and life force behind ShipPax – a major shipping industry publishing company. He did a great deal to encourage and assist me; his kindness and generosity were unstinting and he was so typically Swedish in the very best sense – thoughtful, honest, loyal and democratic.

As a schoolboy interested in ferries, he travelled in the early ‘70s with his Danish friend Ivar Moltke to study all of the latest vessels, contributing articles to the shipping journals of the era. When Tor Line were planning their famous North Sea cruise ferries Tor Britannia and Tor Scandinavia, Klas and Ivar were ‘employed’ by the company to sample and report back on numerous rival ferries and also to dream up innovative design ideas. Thereafter, Klas founded his own shipbroker and consultancy company, Plus 2 Ferry Consultation, which later transformed into ShipPax.

Readers of the ShipPax publications Cruise & Ferry Info, Designs and Guide will know that these were far from being dry and dreary productions; on the contrary, they were devised with all of Klas’ enthusiasm for ro-ro, passenger shipping and ship design and the diverse range of articles they carried reflected his enquiring mind. Through his analysis and sage advice to the ferry industry, Klas must have contributed to many companies’ successes.

Aside from doing a job that was also a hobby, Klas was a loving father who did so much to encourage his talented children Ejje and Cecilia in their careers in architecture and design. Sadly, in 2009, Klas was diagnosed with cancer, which he battled bravely for more than four years. When I last saw him in the spring of 2012, he remained stoically determined to overcome his disease.

Whenever one needed advice or information about ferries, a telephone call or an email to Klas would usually supply the answer – and also lead to lengthy and fascinating conversations. I will miss him very much.