Raymond R. Miles, who during his 43-year international transport career helped steer the course of container shipping as it evolved through its second generation, died on Friday 6 November 2015 after a brief illness. He was 71. At the time of his death, he was serving as Advising Director at Stena AB. Previous Board positions held by Mr. Miles included Non-executive Director at Survitec Group Limited, Senior Independent Non-executive Director at Provident Financial PLC, Non-executive Chairman at Southern Cross Healthcare PLC and Non-executive Director at Stelmar Shipping.
Born in London in 1944, Mr. Miles graduated from Coventry University’s Lanchester Polytechnic in 1970 with a 1st in Economics, and earned an MBA from London Business School. Last year, he returned to Coventry as a guest lecturer. He was a long-standing member of London’s Reform Club.
Mr. Miles began his career in 1972 with Ocean Transport & Trading in Liverpool. In the early 1980s he was named Executive Vice President of Barber Blue Sea, OTT’s roll-on/roll-off shipping joint venture with Wilh Wilhelmsen of Norway and Brostroms of Sweden.
In 1985 he joined start-up Global Equipment Management (GEM) as Managing Director. GEM was one of the first cooperative ventures to promote the ‘grey-box’ concept to improve equipment utilisation through pooling.
In 1988 Mr. Miles was named Chief Executive of Canada Maritime, a transatlantic container shipping joint venture between Canadian Pacific Ltd and Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB). Canada Maritime was part of Canadian Pacific’s shipping subsidiary, CP Ships, which at the time also included non-container shipping services. Shortly after, Canadian Pacific withdrew from non-container markets and repositioned CP Ships as a container specialist with Mr. Miles as CEO.
He presided over the acquisition of CMB’s minority shareholding in Canada Maritime and the expansion of CP Ships from a single-trade four-vessel niche carrier with annual sales of $100 million to a global top-15 shipping, terminal and logistics group serving 20 trade lanes with a fleet of 84 ships and annual sales of $3.6 billion. Along the way, CP Ships acquired some of container shipping’s best-known and historic brands including: Australia-New Zealand Direct Line, Cast, Contship Containerlines, Italia Line, Ivaran, Lykes Lines and TMM Lines.
In 2001, when Canadian Pacific Limited spun off all its subsidiaries as independent publicly-traded businesses, CP Ships Ltd, with an initial value of about $800 million, became the only pure-play container shipping company listed on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges. Its ticker symbol was TEU. In 2005, Mr. Miles presided over the $2.3 billion sale of CP Ships to TUI AG, parent of Hamburg-based Hapag- Lloyd AG. With the merger of the two companies, Hapag-Lloyd became the world’s 5th largest container shipping company.
While at the helm of CP Ships, Mr. Miles served as the first Chairman of the World Shipping Council, established in 2000 to interface with regulators on critical matters affecting the industry, including cooperating with the US government to establish maritime security benchmarks post-9/11. He also served as Chairman of the Box Club, a container carrier CEO forum, and as Non-executive Director of West of England P&I Club and the UK Chamber of Shipping.
CP Ships was a sponsor of the National Maritime Museum, where Mr. Miles served as Trustee. During his tenure, the CP Ships Special Exhibitions Gallery in Greenwich was home to three major exhibitions: ‘South: the Race to the Pole’ in 2001 focusing on the historic early 20th century age of Antarctic exploration, ‘Elizabeth’ in 2003 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of Queen Elizabeth I, and ‘The Adventures of Tin Tin at Sea’ in 2004 marking the 75th anniversary of the famed comic strip reporter’s first adventure with his faithful dog Snowy.
Active in a number of charitable organisations in Devon, Mr. Miles served as Chairman of Devon Community Foundation, Trustee for Country Holidays for Inner City Kids (Chicks) and Chairman of the Garden Opera, which staged outdoor opera performances as fundraisers for many different charities.
Anyone who knew Ray Miles understood that his family came first, followed closely by football. A lifelong Chelsea supporter, he held a season ticket in the East Middle Stand at Stamford Bridge for more than 20 years and followed the team to many away matches. Also a talented amateur footballer himself, he played well into his forties.
After taking up game shooting in his mid-fifties with his usual enthusiasm, he became a highly competent shot. He was a life-long supporter of the arts and had a special fondness for walking Dartmoor’s paths.
Mr. Miles is survived by Susan, his wife of 49 years, his daughters Claire and Alice and four grandchildren, Sam, Daniel, Madeleine and Francesca.