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Chris Munford

WCN Publishing regrets to report the death of former partner and colleague Chris Munford.
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Our former colleague and partner in WCN Publishing, Christopher (Chris) Munford, has died at the age of 67.

Chris, a graduate in French & Linguistics from LSE, joined CS Publications Ltd (CSP), the publishers of Cargo Systems International (CSI) in 1977.

It was a young company that caught the rising tide of containerisation of trade between developed countries and Chris became an expert in the container industry field. He also met his future wife Corinne, who was a trainee journalist at the company.

He left CSP in the early 1980s to pursue other interests, but was persuaded by the directors to return in 1986 as Editorial Director, bringing his container industry expertise to bear and also his production know-how and grasp of emerging desk-top publishing technology to revolutionise the way CSI was produced.

This slashed production costs and helped to shore up profitability at a difficult time for CSP. He also worked on the Container Technology Conference programme and was instrumental in re-launching this as Intermodal Europe, which ultimately became a major success for CSP and continues under the ownership of Informa Exhibitions.

During his time at CSP, Chris was also noted as a keen-eyed reporter on ports in developing countries and was responsible for what, at the time, was acknowledged as a leading edge supplement on ports and intermodal development in Brazil following an extensive field trip.

After CSP was sold in 1993 Chris and three other key magazine staff - Vincent Champion, Mike Forder and Simon Peskett - realising that the new owners had no real interest in the publishing side of the business, left to pursue this in the shape of what became WCN Publishing, which produced the first edition of WorldCargo News in July 1994.

Again Chris focused on container industry issues and was responsible for many industry coups, and in addition his production know-how was invaluable as it helped to ensure low cost entry into the publishing field.

After a six month absence in 2006 for ill health Chris was able to make a welcome return to the business, where he continued working as a partner until he retired in June 2014.

In his earlier days Chris was an accomplished sportsman, playing rugby and football at a very good level and in his youth he was a noted cross-country runner. He bore his later ill health with fortitude and his customary keen sense of humour.

Until his heath failed in 2006, Chris travelled extensively chasing container industry developments in the US, Europe, Japan, Korea and finally China as the industry continued its migration to lowest cost production. He always kept a close watch on technical developments in all aspects of the container business, as well as port developments in the sub-continent and elsewhere.

As a seasoned traveller, Chris had many amusing tales to tell. On one occasion in his early days at CSP, he booked into cheap Hamburg waterfront lodgings, only to have his night disrupted by a ruckus in the adjoining room. After about 20 minutes of this, the slim dividing wall broke and two huge matelots crashed through, apologised profusely for disturbing his peace, and carried on knocking seven bells out of each other.

During one field trip in India, while in Mumbai he was invited by three different people for respectively lunch, tea and dinner on the same day at the prestigious Bombay Cricket Club, as it was then known. Of course he did not let on to his second and third hosts that he had already been there once and twice that day!

Chris hated cruelty and was a dog lover. During a field trip in the Philippines, he snatched a stick from a man who was beating his chained dog with it, and then ran hell for leather as the enraged beater and his entourage chased after him.

WCN Publishing has received many tributes regarding Chris. One container industry innovator described him as “a lovely chap who knew our industry inside out, a fantastic reference point, who helped me a lot. I will miss his quick wit and the updates on his Pulis.” Another industry figure described him thus: “A more wonderful person and complete professional you could not hope to meet;” and yet another “He was a lovely guy.”

Chris was also much appreciated by his peers, both for his professionalism and his conviviality. According to one leading industry journalist, “Chris was an expert in his field, had a strong grasp of technical issues and in many cases unsurpassed contacts to get to the bottom of issues and uncover stories.”

A leading industry PR company endorsed this, saying: “Chris’ passing is a great loss. He was such a professional and unequalled in his knowledge of the industry.”

A publisher and container trade association figure commented: “Chris gave me my big breakthrough in journalism, as staff writer at CSI. I sometimes wonder what I would be doing if I hadn’t been offered the job. My first interview was in the Fountain pub in New Malden. The second one was in the Crooked Billet pub on Wimbledon Common - a sign of things to come. Happy days…”

Chris was devoted to his wife Corinne and immensely proud of his sons Stephen and Robert, their older sister Krysta and his new Granddaughter Ava.

As well as being a proud supporter of his local rugby club, Sutton & Epsom RFC, Chris loved dogs and was attached to his Pulis, a rare breed of Hungarian sheepdog. Chris will be much missed by family, friends and colleagues alike and by those in the wider industry.

A private funeral service and celebration of Chris’s life will take place on 26th January, and in keeping with his and his family’s wishes, charity donations in his memory and in lieu of flowers can be made to his two chosen charities


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