Dr Anil Sharma

The Wave of Change in the World of Maritime: Dr. Anil Sharma

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Founder & CEO | Global Marketing Systems

Dr Anil Sharma is a financial and industrial pioneer with a long-term vision, leading the positive change now taking place in ship and offshore recycling. A man who wears many hats – a doctorate holder. professor. entrepreneur, and visionary – Dr Sharma is the head of Global Marketing Systems (GMS), the world’s first ISO-certified cash buyer in the maritime industry for ships and offshore assets.

With its roots in a humble garage in Maryland, USA, GMS has evolved into a three-vertical global enterprise with a reputation for innovation, green practices, and thought leadership. It’s ship owning arm boasts over 30 vessels under its belt and extends its reach across the world Through his vocal support of green recycling practices and provision of free training workshops under the Sustainable Ship & Offshore Recycling Programme (SSORP) banner, Dr Sharma is delivering on his mission to build knowledge of environmentally responsible ship recycling processes. 

Dr. Anil Sharma Success Story

Igniting a Successful Yet Sustainable Revolution

What began as an academic curiosity in the early 1990s, when Dr Sharma, a professor in Maryland, followed the lifecycle of old US Navy ships from the World War era, speedily grew into the indispensable maritime service provider- GMS.

Investigations led him to discover that nearly 200 World War ships were earmarked for recycling but could not find vendors to support them, sparking an idea that would see GMS collaborate with the growing Indian ship recycling industry and open gateways to international tenders and assignments. By putting together an Indian ship recycling industry gradually making its foray into international projects with a supply of vintage vessels, Dr Sharma solved two roadblocks in a single stroke.

The global maritime community now has a reliable and dynamic partner in GMS’s streamlined operations and transparent platform. By bridging the gap between shipowners and ship recyclers and building a network of excellence and trust with partners in steel, recycling, and the offshore market, Dr Sharma nurtured his vision from an idea to an icon, making GMS the largest buyer of US Department of Transportation – Maritime Administration (MARAD) vessels in the 1990s.

Steadfast innovation soon led the Russian Consulate to take notice of Dr Sharma’s enterprise and thus began a new chapter in steering GMS towards greater growth and Dr Sharma’s erudite vision for the maritime industry. 

The Mind of the Maestro, The Pioneer, The Thought Leader – Dr Anil Sharma

Bringing purpose and a successful commercial model to an otherwise fragmented industry, Dr Sharma’s reputation as a leader and pioneer is well documented. Creating a platform of predictability and professionalism and building a commercially successful structure of networks, partners and vendors is thanks to his vision and hard work.

Many stories highlight his enterprising spirit. In 2007, Dr Sharma was invited to speak at the first-ever global conference on ship breaking, as the industry called it. During his opening remarks, he caught the audience’s interest by stating that nearly 98 per cent of their work was recycling and reusing vessels, rather than simply breaking them. Repositioning the industry’s purpose to its contributors and investors, Dr Sharma challenged the participants to take a vote, and the audience unanimously agreed to the need for a paradigm shift in organising their efforts.

Rebranding their industry as Ship Recycling -An industry of opportunity and partnership, the changes were affected from that very same conference as banners were promptly changed across the event the next day. A leader in more ways than one, his acumen and eye for efficiencies helped him build tools to accelerate the ship evaluation process.

Using a systematic approach nurtured through his years in academia, he devised a 27-point matrix that greatly simplified the pricing and quotation process. As soon as a request for a ship is received, a questionnaire is sent to the seller, the data analysed, and the right formula applied to issue a price quote for the vessel. The valuation tool, devised by Dr Sharm a and his team is now touted as the industry standard. The unprecedented speed, accuracy and transparency of GMS activities introduced a systematic approach into an otherwise fragmented and disorganised market and quickly established the brand and its values of professionalism, integrity and performance. 

GMS – A Truly Global Force

GMS is the world’s largest and first ISO 9001 certified cash buyer of ships, rigs and offshore assets for recycling. GMS representatives are active across all major ship recycling markets globally. Headquartered in the US with offices in Hamburg (Germany), Athens (Greece), Dubai (UAE), India (Bhavnagar), Singapore, Seoul (Korea), Shanghai (China), Tokyo (Japan) and London (UK), the company today boasts of more than 4,000 commercial vessels and offshore.

GMS invests heavily in green practices, with the largest number of rigs for recycling and nearly 66 per cent of its vessels were sustainably recycled in India. A veteran in the industry with experience spanning nearly 3 decades, Dr Sharma believes his company’s success lies in delivering consistent performance and dealing with integrity and professionalism in every realm of shipping. 

Running A Tight Ship 

A particular realm that captures the eye is the conglomerate’s shipping vertical that sails under the LILA Global banner. An international enterprise, the firm handles over 30 vessels, including 20 bulk carriers, 11 tankers, and 1 passenger vessel, lending itself to the transportation of valuable goods across the oceans.

GMS is known for executing prestigious projects such as recycling the assets of Dubai Petroleum, and successfully delivering end-to end logistical expertise to dismantle, transport and recycle the world’s biggest and heaviest rigs from the Gulf of Mexico to Oman for recycling. Projects such as these inspire new ideas and learnings for Dr Sharma and further fuel his vision. He remarks that traditionally ships were always recycled in Europe, the US and Taiwan.

Yet, GMS today enjoys a position as a trustworthy conduit with a unique value proposition, opening up new markets to the world of ship recycling. With the goal of raising awareness and standards across the industry, GMS has published two of the industry’s first-ever books about ship recycling. It also releases the GMS WEEKLY, a real time e-newsletter with a circulation of almost 20 years and more than 1,000 issues. Moving with the times, GMS recently launched a weekly podcast (GMS Podcasts), offering informed and entertaining conversation across a range of shipping and recycling topics. 

Enabling Athletes, Investing in Human Performance 

An avid sportsman and a lover of athletics, Dr Sharma is also the largest stakeholder of Odisha FC (formerly Delhi Dynamos), a professional Indian football club based in Odisha, India. In harmony with his ambition to build a platform of learning and mentoring, many of Dr Sharma’s efforts are aligned to increase access to rigorous and world-class training for aspiring sportsmen and women.

More recently, for the Qatar World Cup, Dr Sharma recruited and liaised with the Aspire Academy to conduct company-sponsored training programmes for keen kids, teens and young adults. Clearly, the academician in him truly nurtures the power of learning and education to foster a brighter, greener, fitter world. 


■ One among the Lloyd’s List Top 100 Most Influential Persons in Shipping for 10 years in a row (2010-2021) 

■ Ranked among 50 Most Influential Businessmen in Tanker Shipping and Trade for the years 2018 and 2019 

■ Winner of Seatrade Green Shipping Award 2018 (Abu Dhabi Ports, Zara Maritime, Bluewater Trade Winds Pvt Ltd, Monjasa, and The Shipping Corporation of India were the finalists) 

■ Finalist for the Lloyd’s List Global Environmental Award 2018 (DNV GL, Forecast Technology, Jan De Nul Group, Kuwait Oil Company, and Vancouver Fraser Port Authority were the other finalists) 

■ Finalist for the Seatrade Green Shipping Award 2019 (ABS, DNV GL Maritime, HullWiper Ltd, Seacor Offshore Dubai LLC were the other finalists) 

■ Finalist for the Maritime Standard Green Shipping Award 2018 (Emarat Maritime LLC, HullWiper Limited, Kuwait Oil Tanker Company, Monjasa, and Orient Overseas Container Line Limited were the other finalists) 

Sailing Into A Greener World

GMS consistently aims to find the best solutions to the most challenging and complex recycling issues faced by governments and businesses alike. Leading with an environmental conscience, GMS is the first and only buyer in the world to report on the carbon footprint of each vessel being recycled from beaching to completion, building eco-accountability and purpose into the industry of recycling and maritime commerce.

One of the pioneering initiatives undertaken by GMS is its much celebrated and granular training programmes, which offer a suite of empowering and educational workshops such as regular risk assessment to improve safety and meet international standards.

Over 1,000 training programmes on safe and eco-friendly recycling were conducted in recycling yards in 2021 alone. With climate change putting the focus on green steel, a growing number of GMS’s clients and stakeholders are now willing to adopt greener practices.

GMS plays a critical role in enabling the green movement for its growing partner ecosystem, building awareness and equipping recycling yards active in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, with tools and ideas to monetise green steel. A truly respected and generous maritime giant, GMS values its business and the environment and upholds its collaborative standards among stakeholders, workers and employees.