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James Chao

Foremost founder and chairman James Chao has been named the 2018 Lloyd’s List Americas Awards Lifetime Achievement winner. 

Founded in 1964, Foremost Group is a global shipping, trading and finance enterprise based in New York. 

Foremost is a pioneer in promoting more environmentally friendly ship design and technology into its expanding fleet of new vessels, some of the world's largest bulk carriers.  

Since 2011 the company, under the guidance of daughter Angela Chao, has ordered or taken delivery of 10 bulkers ranging from 85,000 dwt to 180,000 dwt, according to Lloyd’s List Intelligence. 

It ordered four 210,000 Newcastlemax vessels at Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding, a wholly-owned subsidiary of China CSSC Holding, in January this year according to press sources.  

American dream
James Chao embodies the American rags to riches dream, and is a strong proponent that a strong education can help people progress.  

He was born on December 29, 1927 in a small, rural farming village in Jiading District, outside Shanghai, Republic of China. His parents were Yi-Ren Chao, an elementary school principal, and Yu-Chin Hsu Chao, farmers who emphasised the value of education.

Chao attended upper schools near Shanghai, including National Chiao Tung University and National Wusong merchant marine college, where he majored in navigation. He finished his coursework in 1949, and went to sea as a cadet on a merchant vessel. At the climax of China's civil war, Chao and his wife Ruth Mulan Chu Chao went to Taiwan to start a new life.

In the mid-1970s at the age of 29, Mr Chao advanced through the ranks to become one of the youngest ocean-going marine captains of that time. He moved to the United States in 1958, settling in New York City the same year. He received a master's degree in management from St John's University, Queens, in 1964. 

In 2004, Chao was inducted into the International Maritime Hall of Fame at the United Nations in recognition of his long-standing service and dedication to the international maritime trading industry. 

Active philanthropists, Chao and his late wife established the Mulan Foundation in 1984 to provide scholarships to help students in the US and China access higher education and to promote US-China cultural rel="noopener noreferrer" exchanges. 

The Chaos had six daughters: Elaine, Jeanette, May, Christine, Grace and Angela


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