Edward Coll — the driving force behind one of the most innovative public companies in the dry bulk sector — has died from the illness that first sidelined him three months ago.
Coll, who was the chief executive of Pangaea Logistics Solutions, died on Monday night, the dry bulk operator announced in a statement on Tuesday.
Under Coll's direction, Pangaea became a thriving niche-market player in complex contract trades that ranged from transporting iron ore in the Arctic ice sector to hauling bauxite cargoes from Jamaica to the US.
In 2020, the New York-listed bulker operator, which is based in Newport, Rhode Island, easily beat two dozen other public companies for the third straight year atop the VesselIndex Report, published by Danish researchers Anders Liengaard and Soren Roschmann.
The annual study gauges how listed owners' operating results fare against relevant Baltic Exchange indices, adjusted for each shipowner's particular fleet profile.
Coll had been hit by a sudden illness in late September and was out on medical leave while chief operating officer Mark Filanowski stepped in as interim chief executive. Filanowski has now been named permanent chief executive.
"Ed Coll was a keen businessman, setting out a business plan that provides a steady stream of revenues and profits, while always adjusting to volatile markets, customer needs, and the times," Filanowski said. "He frequently saw opportunities where others did not, and he relentlessly pursued them.
"His legacy in Pangaea is lasting, and we will continue to operate in the same way, as he trained us well."
In a November move related to Coll's absence, Pangaea also elevated current director Richard du Moulin — the veteran executive and former Intertanko chairman — to become its interim chairman. Pangaea also added Claus Boggild to the board.
Coll was founder of Pangaea and served as its chief executive since its inception.
When long-time investor Cartesian Capital began an orderly selldown in Pangaea in March after 12 years of support, founder Peter Yu had only praise for Coll.
"Under Ed's leadership, the company not only weathered but thrived during 2020, maintaining profitability despite a global pandemic, expanding its distinctive ice business, and delivering for its clients around the world,” Yu said in a statement.
"Pangaea starts 2021 well positioned and poised for growth thanks to the tireless efforts of Ed and his entire team."
As TradeWinds has reported, Pangaea under Coll's direction often found creative solutions to tough logistical problems.
Challenged in 2018 to handle the northern-most dry bulk cargo ever carried, high above the Arctic Circle in an unpopulated region of northern Greenland, Pangaea constructed its own temporary port at a site otherwise devoid of infrastructure and got the job done.
During a different challenge in 2020 — the scourge of Covid-19 — Pangaea distributed personal protective equipment to frontline workers in the Newport area, helped by contributions from a Chinese shipyard and its technical manager in Greece.
"I’m pretty sure this is the way the world is supposed to work. Everything else aside, we’ve got to take care of each other," Coll told TradeWinds at the time.
Prior to co-founding Pangaea predecessor company Bulk Partners Ltd in 1996, Coll spent 10 years at Continental Grain Co with assignments in New York, New Orleans, Rome and Rotterdam.
He joined Commodity Ocean Transport Corp (Cotco) in 1989 and became president of the company in 1993. In this position, Coll was responsible for the overall activities and businesses of three US public shipping companies.
Coll was an elected member of leading ship classification society ABS. He earned a bachelor's degree in nautical science from the US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point and a master's degree in international business from Pace University.