When economist Martin Stopford made his big break into the shipping industry in 1971, AP Moller-Maersk only had one part-owned containership, the UK was the second-biggest shipbuilding nation after Japan and the mid-morning tea trolley still toured the office.

Fifty years on, container shipping is enjoying a wild ride, shipbuilding has shifted East and the man who spearheaded the development of maritime research happily makes his own cuppa at his London home.