Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 20 - 2010

 

Message from the President of The Union of Greek Shipowners, Theodore Veniamis

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A steady course for the future
The leading role of Greek-owned shipping is once more demonstrated in the panorama of Posidonia Exhibition 2010. An institution of international reputation providing the shipping industry with a platform to exhibit its achievements and the wide range of services it offers to international trade and the world economy.
It is not a coincidence that this impressive gathering has been hosted successfully for four decades in Greece, a nation with a great maritime tradition and an impressive shipping presence. Neither is it a coincidence that the exhibition this year will be honoured by the presence of 1,800 exhibitors from 85 countries and will be visited by more than 17,000 Greek and foreign industry professionals and governmental officials.
Posidonia 2010 finds Greek shipping in the midst of a dire crisis affecting the whole planet and demanding the fullest mobilization of maritime know-how and experience in order to safeguard its position now and in the future.
Its resilience so far justifies some optimism that, barring unexpected and further negative developments, Greek flag and Greek-owned shipping will maintain the size and high quality of the fleet (with an average age 11.6 years) and its important participation in world tonnage (i.e. 14.8%) and that the Greek flag will maintain its premier position in the European Union flag fleet. The ongoing cautious orders for new vessels justify the prospect of an even more modern and competitive fleet in the near future.
During the last years, the operation of Greek-owned ocean shipping has continued the tendency for closer links with Greece. In particular, 1,300 shipping companies are established in Greece and this results in an increase of the direct or indirect posts of employment with satisfactory remuneration.
It is also noteworthy that shipping is the only sector of the national economy that did not contribute to unemployment despite the most adverse circumstances and offers new career paths for youngsters through the systematic campaign for attraction to the seafaring profession.
Moreover, the Greek shipping community continued to contribute significantly to the EU and international debates on issues affecting the present and future of shipping. For instance, the proliferation of piracy attacks against merchant vessels but also the international discussions on the contribution of shipping to the reduction of air pollution. Last but not least, efforts were exerted to promote the recognition of the strategic role of Greek shipping as a commercial partner for Europe and the West.
The first decade of the 21st century finds Greek shipping fully engaged in the very competitive arena of international maritime transport in order to safeguard its achievements and to create the conditions for further improvements, an objective which is a source of optimism for the future of Greece.
Theodore Veniamis, President of The Union of Greek Shipowners
Source: Press Release No 4, Piraeus, 17.5.2010, POSIDONIA 2010


The New Council of the Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee
CAROUSSIS CON/NOS IS. Vice-Chairman
LYRAS JOHN M. Vice-Chairman
DRAGAZIS DIMITRIS C. Vice-Chairman
Members in alphabetical order:
ANGELICOUSSIS JOHN A.
COMNINOS-XYLAS NICOLAS A.
EMBIRICOS GEORGE E.
FRANGOS MARCOS E.
GOULANDRIS ALKIVIADIS L.
HADJIPATERAS JOHN M.
HAYALIDIS THEODOSIA G.
KEDROS ALEXANDROS K.
KULUKUNDIS STATHES J.
LEMOS DIAMANTIS J.
LEMOS MARIA P.
LOS MATHEOS T.
MOUSKAS ZENON K.
PALIOS ANTHONY P.
PAPALEXIS CHRISTOS EM.
PATERAS MICHAEL G.
POLEMIS SPYROS M.
SKINITIS NICHOLAS K.
TSAKOS NICHOLAS P.
TSAVLIRIS ANDREAS A.
Source: http://www.marinews.gr/pub/category.asp?lang=en&contentid=11838


Greece: Retaking the top spot
In addition, according to Piraeus-based Allied Shipbrokers, between 1 January and 1 May 2010, Greek owners spent $2.1Bn on 91 second-hand vessels. This stands in sharp contrast with the first four months of 2009, during which they spent $744M on 50 ships. During the whole of 2009, Greek owners spent just over $3Bn.
Without a doubt, the most significant Greek purchase of the year so far was the acquisition of 13 tankers, worth a total of $64M, by Angeliki Frangou-led Navios. Others, such as Michael Bodouroglou, have expressed their wish to expand more widely.
According to Oates, there has always been a two-tier market for ship finance; in the past the differentiation was based on price, loan percentage and looseness of covenants. Now the differentiation for owners is based on whether or not they can find finance.
Greek shipping in numbers
770 number of ships on order to Greek owners in March 2010
Greek and world orderbook, 2009-2010
No Gt Cgt
Greece, March 2010 770 37,433,323 16,601,355
World 9,089 289,900,000 146,800,000
Ownership of the world fleet (1,000gt and above), 1 Jan 2010
Top 5 nationalities* Total no Total dwt
Greece 3,150 186,095,162
Japan 3,751 183,319,680
China 3,633 104,452,389
Germany 3,627 103,895,669
South Korea 1,200 44,883,318
Ownership of the world fleet (1,000gt and above), 1 Jan 2009
Top 5 nationalities* Total no Total dwt
Japan 3,720 173,285,235
Greece 3,064 169,426,690
Germany 3,522 104,953,712
China 3,499 92,799,221
Norway 2,027 50,216,235
* Based on the nationality of the group owner (controlling interest behind the fleet)
Source: Fairplay - Powerhouse 20 May 2010


Cosco to make Greece its 'gateway' to Europe
---20th May 2010 08:46 GMT. COSCO to expand into logistics, ship repairing and tourism development
Economic measures taken to improve the state of the Greek economy was a key initiative at a recent meeting between Cosco and the Hellenic government.
Captain Wei stated that Cosco's goal is to make Greece the gateway of the group in Europe. He said that the country is attractive for foreign investors, because of its strategic location.
Wei highlighted that Cosco is actively interested in the logistics sector, as well as the fast emerging fields of ship repairing and tourism development.
In joint discussions with George Anomeritis, head of the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP), both parties agreed on participating in funding, construction and operation of a new intermodal hub in the area of Thriassion Pedion, located 20 kilometres west of Athens.
They also agreed to move forward with OLP's plans to establish a ship repairs and ship maintenance facility.
The Chinese conglomerate has secured control of Piers I and II of the port of Piraeus, after surpassing its rivals in a relative tendering concession process.
The shipping group intends to make Piraeus the biggest port of the Eastern Mediterranean. For 2010, the goal is to handle 800,000 TEUs.
Wei also announced that from April the company began transferring merchandises and goods through Piraeus, while the same applied for cargoes transported by the CKYH Alliance, comprised of Cosco, K Line, Yang Ming and Hanjin Shipping.
Singapore News Desk, 20th May 2010 08:46 GMT
Source: http://www.portworld.com/news/i93906/Cosco_to_make_Greece_its_gateway_to_Europe


Debt crisis hits Greek port hard
Business for the local dockworkers is badly down these days as a result of the deep economic crisis that Greece has been plunged into due to spiralling debts and the harsh austerity measures it has been forced to adopt.
"The freight has reduced dramatically," said Giorgios Ganos, a soft-spoken 37-year-old worker, looking out over the sprawling commercial port laid out along the Saronic Gulf from which ancient Athens once launched its warships.
"If before we were working every day, now it can be 15 or 20 days without a job," said Ganos.
Ironically, however, Greek shipowners are doing well due to a recovery in international trade.
Source: http://www.business24-7.ae/companies-markets/logistics/debt-crisis-hits-greek-port-hard-2010-05-17-1.244815


In search of new avenues to plug the ship finance void
Steve Matthews - Thursday 20 May 2010
Ernst & Young partner Dougald Middleton warned that the historic suppliers of debt to shipping, a group of large European banks, had significant exposure to Greek sovereign debt and were under pressure to reduce their loan books to limit this exposure. Greek banks in the shipping market are also facing liquidity issues.
DVB Bank head of ship finance Dagfinn Lunde pointed out that an estimated 70% of Greek treasuries are held by European banks. As a result, cash hoarding has resumed and spreads between London Interbank Offered Rate and the actual Interbank Rate have climbed once again.
Harris Antoniou of Fortis Bank Nederland outlined the partial drying up of the main traditional source of shipping finance and suggested some alternative sources.
He said that normally at this stage in the ship finance cycle shipping banks would be demanding higher margins for loans but the finance crisis is limiting the lending ability of traditional ship finance banks.
Bank lending to shipping fell sharply following the banking crisis in 2008 and is only now slowly recovering, but volumes remain well below earlier levels. Banks have refocused on core clients and quality names. Where they are offering loans they are smaller, with higher prices and tighter covenants. They have a reduced appetite for long-term debt with long-term lending commanding higher premiums. Several leading lenders to shipping have reduced lending activity because of increased credit problems from loans in the boom years, a reduction in balance sheets, sovereign debt concerns and governments pressuring banks to focus on domestic lending.
That gap is being partly filled from alternative sources. There has been an increase in shipping capital market activity with a number of bond issues already this year. The equity capital markets have also picked up and there is likely to be further shipping IPOs and follow-on issues this year. Mr Lunde referred to increased activity by Export Credit Agencies in shipbuilding countries.
Ted Petropoulos, managing director of Petrofin Bank Research in Greece, was more optimistic about the size of the perceived gap in bank lending and the ability of banks to meet the requirement.
He suggested that when the expected cancellations and delays are taken into account the funding shortfall reduces to more manageable proportions.
This results in an aggregate new finance requirement during the next four years of some $218.4bn, just under half the current global lending total. He assumes natural wastage of the global loan book at $45bn annually. If all of it is made available for new lending, the net additional requirement for new finance is cut to $38.4bn. Mr Petropoulos said that this was not excessive but he acknowledged that his calculation for the ship lending gap was less than some other estimates, such as Fortis Nederland.
The ability of traditional ship finance banks to rebuild their ship lending capacity is therefore still a matter of some debate. Loan ratios are likely to stay restricted so these estimates only account for the approximately 60% of the funding requirement that the banks should provide. Owners will have to fund the remaining 40% from their own resources or find it elsewhere. That might be no problem for owners that have sound finances but as cash accumulated during the boom starts to drain away, some owners might struggle to fulfil their side of the bargain.
Source: http://www.lloydslist.com


Akti Miaouli People & Places
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# Haralambos Fafalios has been elected new chairman of the Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee (GSCC) replacing Epaminondas G.E. Embiricos who stood down after 11 years as chairman. Following elections May 20, Fafalios leads a board for the next two years, comprising: Constantinos Caroussis, John M Lyras and Dimitris Dragazis, v-c. Members are: John A Angelicoussis, Nicolas A Comninos-Xylas, George Embiricos, Marcos Frangos, Alkiviadis L Goulandris, John M Hadjipateras, Theodosia G Hayalidis, Alexandros K Kedros, Stathes Kulukundis, Diamantis J Lemos, Maria P Lemos, Matheos T Los, Zenon K Mousakas, Anthony P Palios, Christos EM Papalexis, Michael G Pateras, Spyros M Polemis, Nicholas K Skinitis, Nicholas P Tsakos and Andreas A Tsavliris.
# Captain Vassilis Constantakopoulos has been re-elected chairman of Helmepa (Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association) following an election April 28. Also elected were: John Coustas, v-c; Maria Tsakos, general secretary; Dimitris Lemonidis special secretary; Nicos Bafaloukos, treasurer; Michael Dalacouras, deputy treasurer. Members are: George Gratsos, John Halas, Maria-Christina Ktistakis, Peter G Livanos, Irini Diafas, Nicos Pappadakis, Iakovos Perantinos, Nicos Tsavliris and Michael Chandris.
# It is time to strike back at pirates, but not by arming merchant ships. This was the general consensus of the seminar on piracy organised by the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS, Greek branch, May 17 at the Yacht Club of Greece. Being prepared rather than being armed was the main message delivered by speakers: Giles Noakes, Bimco security officer; Stephen Askins, Ince & Co; Antonis Papaioannou, commander Greek Navy; Anna Kalathakis, of Navios Maritime; and John Platsidakis, md Anangel Maritime Services; though ICS Greek branch chairman, Nicolas A Tsavliris advocated a much more aggressive approach to those committing acts of piracy.
# Peter Livanos-controlled Ceres Group has named John Michael Radziwill new ceo of its management arm CTM in Monaco, replacing Gary Weston, who becomes head of DryLog, CTM's parent. Ilias Iliopoulos, move from being ceo of DryLog, to ceo at Ceres Shipping, the holding company for DryLog, BoxLog, GasLog and TankLog. "With the continued growth of both cargo demand and new ships in dry cargo, now is the time to further increase our activity in our trading companies and the right time for John Michael to take on this new challenge" said Weston.
Radziwill has been with CTM for five years and over the last year has been working closely with Weston. CTM is the commercial manager for C Transport Cape Size (CTC), C Transport Panamax (CTP), DBCN Corporation, Freight Trading Ltd (FTL), CBC Lda, Carras and DryLog Bulkcarriers and run about 85 vessels ranging from supramaxes to capesizes. It is also active in the offshore marine handling sector via its partnership in Swire CTM Bulk Logistics.
# George Anomeritis, president and md of the Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) was keynote speaker at The International Propeller Club of the United States, Port of Piraeus luncheon held at the Yacht Club of Greece, May 18. Under the general heading: Port of Piraeus in the Next Decade, the former Marine minister used the occasion to present plans for the development of Piraeus port, partricularly referring to the areas of transformation and investment necessary for the Piraeus in order to become the major cruise port of Eastern Mediterranean; the service modernisation required in the ferries sector; and the containers and logistics support in the port He emphasised the necessity of modernisation and the need for increased competitiveness of Piraeus, as it "influences thousands of entrepreneurs and citizens in areas of shipping, of transportation and other sectors of the economy".
# The second Wista Med meeting took place recently in Madrid with the Spanish Chapter hosting over 40 Wista ladies from Italy, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Poland and Spain. Hosted by Spanish Wista president Laura Ferrario and Consuelo Rivero, secretary for both the Spanish chapter and Wista International ExCo, the meeting offered an excellent opportunity for renewal of friendships, networking and discussions about the ongoing political and financial happenings, with particular attention to their effects on the shipping activities in their country. The seven-member Wista Hellas delegation was led by the president, Anna-Maria Monogioudi, who presented the programme of the Annual Wista Conference 2010 to take place in Athens from September 29 to October 1 at the Divani Apollon Palace Hotel & Spa. The 3-day programme will focus on important issues under the conference topic: 'Achieving Sustainability-Paving the Way to Shipping Excellence' (www.wistaconference.org). In the Year of the Seafarer, conference keynote speaker will be Imo secretary general Efthimios Mitropoulos.
Source: www.newsfront.gr


Greek union calls off Posidonia gala reception
The union also endorsed a proposal by its president, Theodore Veniamis, that the funds set to be allocated for the gala be donated to maritime academies in Greece.
Veniamis tells TradeWinds that it is inappropriate to host the event given the challenges the Greek people are facing resulting from the newly imposed austerity measures.
He says shipping is not in crisis, Greece is. Veniamis adds that the union will refrain from commenting on the crisis and leave political talk to those elected by the people.
The gala reception has normally been held on the Friday evening of Posidonia week since 1976 in honour of exhibitors and guests.
Unlike the numerous events hosted by other local and foreign companies during the week, no other competing events take place on that day.
The gala was often one of the largest and more glamorous events as owners attended with their wives.
The organisers of Posidonia are also doing their part for Greece by providing a 50% discount to the public tertiary institutions exhibiting this year. Exhibition organiser Theodore Vokos says the University of Piraeus, Aegean University and the Technical Institute of Piraeus will only pay half the fees.
This year the party list looks just as solid but very few are expecting a repeat of the extravaganzas of Posidonia 2008, when shipping rates were booming.
Published: 21:59 GMT, 20 May 10 | updated: 20:47 GMT, 19 May 10
Source: www.tradewinds.no


Danaos Corporation Adds Two More Newly Built Vessels to its Fleet
The CMA CGM NERVAL, built at Sungdong Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering and the YM MANDATE, built at Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Co. have both a carrying capacity of 6,500 TEU, are 300 meters long, 40 meters wide and have a speed of 25,60 knots.
The CMA CGM NERVAL has commenced its 12-year time charter at a fixed charter rate immediately upon delivery as has the YM MANDATE which commenced its 18-year bareboat charter at a fixed charter rate immediately upon delivery.
About Danaos Corporation
Danaos Corporation is an international owner of containerships, chartering its vessels to many of the world's largest liner companies. Our current fleet of 44 containerships aggregating 190,229 TEUs ranks Danaos among the largest containership charter owners in the world based on total TEU capacity. Danaos is the largest US listed containership company based on fleet size. Furthermore, the company has a contracted fleet of 24 additional containerships aggregating 191,950 TEU with scheduled deliveries up to 2012. The company's shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "DAC".
Source: www.danaos.com


Star Bulk Carriers Corp. Reports Financial Results for the First Quarter Ended March 31, 2010
---ATHENS, GREECE, May 19, 2010 - Star Bulk Carriers Corp. (the "Company" or "Star Bulk") (Nasdaq: SBLK), a global shipping company focusing on the transportation of dry bulk cargoes, announced today its unaudited financial and operating results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2010.
Akis Tsirigakis, President and CEO of Star Bulk commented: "We are pleased that our continued cost reduction campaign contributed to our financial results for the first quarter of 2010 being $0.02 per share better than expected. We also entered into contracts to grow and renew our fleet, taking advantage of attractive asset valuations and opportune timing. During the quarter, we entered into agreements to sell one of our oldest vessels, a 1993 Capesize and replace it with a 2000 Capesize vessel. We also placed orders for two newbuilding Capesize vessels with deliveries scheduled in late 2011. This organic fleet development was achieved without the need to dilute our investors, through own cash and senior debt, a result of our sound financial condition. All the while, we continue to reward our valued shareholders with a dividend of $0.05 per share payable on June 4, 2010.
The operating results for the first quarter of 2010 would have been improved by $34 million were it not for a non-cash item related to the sale of the Star Beta in the context of our fleet renewal strategy.
We are proud to have improved fleet utilization rate to 99.7% achieved in the first quarter 2010 reflecting the operational and commercial efficiency of our in-house management. Our exposure to market volatility remains limited. As of today we have secured $280 million of contracted revenues, with 98% of our fleet operating days in 2010 and 64% in 2011 already fixed.
Our business depends on trends and developments in the global commodities markets which have shown extraordinary resilience in challenging times which leads us to be optimistic for the prospects of dry bulk shipping."
George Syllantavos, Chief Financial Officer of Star Bulk commented: "Our cost reduction efforts implemented in 2009 continue to produce results for us. In the first quarter 2010 our overall expenses decreased by 13% over the same period 2009 while our vessel operating expenses were lower by 16%. In fact, this is the third quarter in a row where a significant cost reduction takes place. Our remaining principal repayment is $36 million in 2010, $32 million in 2011 and roughly $25 million annually thereafter. As of today, our senior debt was $224 million while our cash position stood at $45 million, translating into a net debt of approximately 24% of our total assets."
Source: http://www.starbulk.com


Tsakos Energy Navigation Offshore Plans Cancelled, Although Tanker Investments Should Continue
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>Tsakos reported 1Q EPS of $0.14, excluding vessel sale gains.The results were shy of our $0.16 estimate as well as the $0.17 consensus forecast. The variance was due primarily to higher than expected interest expense of $14MM versus our $12MM forecast, while operations were largely in-line with expectations.
>Management indicated it would not move forward with its planned move into offshore drilling.Earlier this year, the company had made progress in securing a position in a UDW drillship joint venture, which would own two rigs purchased from distressed owners to be deployed on bareboat contracts. As recently as April, the company was close to finalizing its 40% position in the venture. However on the conference call management indicated the investment would not be completed, with it uncomfortable not being able to control all aspects of the operation. The recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has increased the risk of additional regulation for the industry, with the variability of outcomes keeping Tsakos focused purely on shipping for the time being.
>Tsakos will remain active in its fleet development program.So far this year, the company has delivered 4 sold vessels to third party buyers, while awaiting delivery of three remaining newbuilds in 2010 and 2011. It has been able to secure new term loans for its newbuilds that have already been delivered, and also has raised a total of $20 million through its current ATM. We expect the company to continue to pursue acquisitions in the coming year, with management indicating a preference for product tankers on the 1Q conference call.
>We maintain our Hold rating on TNP shares.The company has benefitted from a steady rise in tanker values, with its NAV increasing from $18 to $21 over the past two months. While TNP shares continue to carry embedded value, the presence of the its ongoing ATM offering has been somewhat of an overhang on the stock, particularly since its relatively-high 60% LTV standing suggests additional equity issuances during its growth initiative. We maintain our Hold rating, although expect the company to continue to benefit in the strengthening tanker market.
Source: Dahlman Rose & Company, LLC


Hellenic Petroleum First Quarter 2010 Financial Results
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Solid performance against a weakening market environment
Key figures for the 1Q 2010 (1Q09 refers to IFRS published accounts) are:
GROUP
Key highlights and contribution for each of the main business units were:
REFINING, SUPPLY & TRADING
Domestic market sales volume declined mainly due to the adverse economic environment and warmer weather impact on heating gasoil sales.
DOMESTIC MARKETING
INTERNATIONAL MARKETING
Investment plans are prudent as Group closely monitors macroeconomic developments and market conditions in countries where it operates.
PETROCHEMICALS
ASSOCIATED COMPANIES
Press Release in full is available at: http://www.hellenic-petroleum.gr/online/generic.aspx?nid=218&mid=51
Source: 20/05/2010, http://www.hellenic-petroleum.gr/online/generic.aspx?nid=218&mid=51