Stephenson Clarke was a fuel distributing and shipping organisation established in 1730, founded by Ralph and Robert Clarke. Stephenson Clarke and Company was registered in 1850. They company went on to formation the Maris Export and Trading Company with a £250000 share capital joint partnership with Powell Duffryn. The Maris company was created to deal with the export activities of both businesses, dealing in coke, pitch and patent fuels and to act as shipbrokers in London loading export cargoes. In 1922 Stephenson Clarke and Company became a private limited company.
In 1928, the existing company of Stephenson Clarke and Associated Companies Limited was placed in voluntary liquidation and a new company formed called Stephenson Clarke and Associated Companies Limited. Later the same year Powell Duffryn acquired the whole of the ordinary share capital. The company became the marketing and distribution operation for Powell Duffryn. In 1945 the company name reverted back to Stephenson Clarke Limited. In 1948 the company bought part of John Kelly Limited, an old-fashioned collier fleet in Northern Ireland.
In 1960s the name changed again to Stephenson Clarke Shipping Limited.