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Karin Orsel

MF Shipping Group

Karin Orsel began working in the shipping industry when she was 18. The decision to start her own business came after a few years, when it became apparent that the generation change where she was employed did not work out as planned. When she was 23 she had a choice, either to join another company or to start her own business.

Despite having no entrepreneurs in the family, no family history in the maritime industry and zero capital she decided to go for it. She became a Financial Manager and shareholder and started the business with 3 people at the office, 6 small dry cargo vessels under crew- and financial management and 50 seafarers. Today, 25 years later the company manages and partly owns 55 dry cargo, cement carriers and chemical tankers and employ’s approximately – 1000 seafarers - 13 nationalities and 63 office staff employees.

Her present position, which she holds since 2001, is CEO and majority shareholder of the international shipping- company MF Shipping Group. Her list of other activities in leading post and appointments within the maritime industry is long. She is a master of networking and always ready for new challenges.


  • Co-Chairman of the Royal Association of Netherlands Ship Owners (KVNR)
  • Board member of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS)
  • ExCo member INTERTANKO
  • Board of directors, Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO)
  • Trustee of the International Seafarers Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN)
  • Council member Economic Board Groningen (EBG)
  • Several participations and trustee positions in Dutch and International Company’s
  • WISTA International Ambassador (Immediate past president WISTA International)
  • Managing Director Thun Tankers BV from Sweden
  • Managing Director JT Cement , Norway
  • Managing Director ASC Alster ship, Germany
  • Managing Director Nordic Chartering, Finland

She won the prestige Dutch ‘Female Entrepreneurship Award of the Year’ for her personal determination and drive in managing her business successfully; being well focused, ambitious and capable of achieving anything, she sets her mind to.

In June 2016, MF Shipping Group was a joint winner of ISWAN’s International Seafarers’ Welfare Award: Shipping Company of the year 2016!

In June 2017, she received an honorary Doctor of Public Administration Degree of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in recognition of her significant contributions and her influence in the maritime industry through her leadership, motivation and commitment to excellence as well as her active participation in numerous national and international organizations.