Dr Guido Grimaldi, the founder and chairman of the Naples-based shipowner Grimaldi Group, has died at the age of 92. He passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on Sunday morning, 5th September.
“Guido Grimaldi was the last of the great Italian shipowners,” said the company in a statement. “He was at the helm of the family business for half a century…[.]”
That business started in 1947 with the help of his uncle Achille Lauro, who helped Guido and his brothers Luigi, Mario, Aldo and Ugo purchase a Liberty vessel, the cargo vessels used by the US fleet during the Second World War, which gave rise to the most important privately-owned European fleets.
Beginning with liner services during a period of post-war immigration between the Mediterranean and the US, in the 1960s the group began to strengthen its freight operations with bulk freighters and tankers. Under Guido’s belief in the potential of ro-ro transport, the company was at the forefront of the transport of vehicles which took off in 1969, and was involved initially with shipments between Italy and the UK. The Grimaldi Group’s car carrier services rapidly won business from major vehicle manufacturers needing to ship their vehicles between Northern Europe and the Mediterranean.
Thanks to Guido Grimaldi’s insight and business acumen, and his engagement with the Motorways of the Sea in Europe concept, the company has grown into a global leader in the sector and currently has a fleet of over 120 ships and five shipping companies around the world.
Grimaldi's commercial and logistics director for Naples, Costantino Baldissara, described Dr Grimaldi as an austere, modern, charismatic and generous man with an entrepreneurial genius.
“He built an empire from scratch with an extraordinary commitment, having a great passion for his job,” said Baldissara, adding that he remains “part of the history of our city of Naples, but especially of the world shipping industry. [He was] among the pioneers of the transport of cars by sea.”
Grimaldi leaves his wife Paola and five children, two of them – Emanuele and Gianluca Grimaldi – are in charge of the group, along with his son-in-law Diego Pacella.
Grimaldi’s funeral was held on Monday in the parish of Holy Trinity, in Via Tasso in Naples.