Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 45 - 2007
---A Greek software supplier is the latest entrant hoping for a slice of the UK broking market.
The battle to provide key information services to the London shipbroking market is hotting up.
A Greek software supplier is the latest company seeking to break into the UK broking market with a unified system.
Piraeus-based Dreamtech is seeking to take advantage of problems at the market leader, London-based Strategic Software, which has been slow to update its messaging and broking systems and has lost several staff over the summer.
Dreamtech has been heavily promoting its Compass Next Generation (CompassNG) system to both large and small brokers, saying it can incorporate customised functions.
Dreamtech business development director Yannis Manolessos says the major advantage Compass has over rivals is that it combines messaging and broking functions on one screen.
Strategic plans to launch a new messaging system next year but has yet to develop new broking software, some years after first saying it would do so.
Other suppliers including Danaos Management Consultants, whose Info@Gate messaging suite is being used by nearly 100 brokers and operators, several of whom have switched from Strategic, are also seeking to take advantage of a perceived vacuum in the market.
Manolessos says Compass is aimed purely at the dry and wet broking sector - with chartering and sale and purchase functionality. But he declines to name brokers who are evaluating Dreamtech's systems.
"For the first time a broker has all the software needed for what they do daily in a single screen," he told TradeWinds and unlike earlier systems, he claims Compass has been developed to work with multiple client computer servers.
He says this gives it a scalability that means it can work for one or two-man broker houses as well as the largest groups. The long period initially taken since the company set up in 1999 to develop the system's architecture also makes it easier to implement changes or be customised for specific demands, he says.
A simplified web-based version is also available for brokers working outside their offices and a full BlackBerry and personal digital assistant (PDA) interface will be developed in 2008. A loose integration already works as a filter to forward messages to hand-held devices.
Dreamtech is opening a London office to back up its UK invasion and is currently seeking sales and marketing plus technical support staff to man it.
In the hiatus created by Strategic's slow development, Manolessos says some brokers have tried to go it alone but he contends they are making a mistake.
"It is tempting for major brokers to try to develop their own software systems but they are missing the feedback we get from other brokers, which helps us to be more efficient," he said.
He added: "Software development is not their business. But we can develop specific software for them based on a common platform because 90% of what they want is already there."
Dreamtech has developed its system to unify broking software with messaging tools but Greek messaging rival Danaos has tied up with London-based broking software developer Trigonal to link the two elements.
Major London broking group EA Gibson recently installed Trigonal's shipbroking suite to integrate with the Danaos messaging system.
Others moving in on the scene include former Strategic co-founder Robin Haddon whose UK-based company ITmarine has developed instant messaging and information sharing e-whiteboard and texting systems that are being installed at offices of small and large shipbrokers, including Simpson Spence & Young (SSY).
French-based online broking-systems provider AXSMarine has also recently launched its instant "chat" product AXSMessenger, which it says automatically links messages to ships in other AXSDry online tools and databases.
Paul Berrill London published: 09 November 2007
Hellenic Carriers goes for AIM listing
---Hellenic Carriers, a small dry bulk shipowner, based in Piraeus, is looking to add its name in the stockmarket, opting for an AIM (Alternative Investment Market) listing in London. Should this effort materialize, Hellenic Carriers shall be the third Hellenic shipping company to enter AIM, following Go Carriers and Globus Maritime, not to mention Goldenport Shipmanagement, which is listed in the main market of London Stock Exchange.
According to a filing, the newcomer is expected to raise $60 million before expenses, while it will use $31 million of the net proceeds of the Placing for part payment of the supramax and for the remainder to be used for working capital purposes, to partially reduce existing indebtedness and, if the prevailing market conditions are favourable to do so, the funding of future vessel acquisitions.
The company has contracted to acquire a supramax bulk carrier, scheduled for delivery during March-April 2008. With this included, Hellenic Carriers' fleet will have an aggregate carrying capacity of 298,761 dwt and an average age of 12.9 years, since it already owns and operates a fleet of four vessels, three panamaxes and one handymax. NBG International will act as lead manager in relation to the placing, while admission is expected to take place at the end of November. The company's chief executive is believed to be Mrs. Fotini Karamanlis, cousin of Prime Minister, Costas Karamanlis.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News
Source: Wednesday, 14.11.2007, 12:39am (GMT), http://www.hellenicshippingnews.com//index.php?mod=article&cat=Hellenicnews&article=4756
TOP Ships expected to out-perform TOP Tankers
---With the tanker market continuing to take its toll on Nasdaq-listed TOP Tankers, the company has confirmed a commitment to a change of name to reflect its $370m diversification into the booming drybulk market. TOP saw third quarterly losses widen by 61.3% as the soft crude market dragged the company to a loss of $18.4m on voyage revenues of $51.2m.
As TOP's fleet TCE fell 20% year-on-year, from $28,221 to $22,46 a day, while total operating days fell 22%, from 2,067 to 1,618 the loss compares to one of $11.4m on revenues of $70.6m 12 months ago.
Discussing the impact of the soft crude demand in the third quarter, TOP ceo Evangelos Pistiolis said in a statement: "Our expansion into the drybulk sector is a major strategic initiative." He said it "should enable [TOP] to compete more effectively in the global shipping community". He noted that since the initial announcements of the dry-bulker acquisitions, "the Baltic Dry Index has been increasing to historic highs. This has generated a significant premium to our investment, well before we take delivery of the ships."
In two purchases, TOP has acquired four panamaxes, a supramax and a handymax. Pistiolis believes that "the drybulk business will offset any weakness that may occur on the tanker side, and that the overall mix will better position the company". The first of the six bulkers of a total 397,774dwt is now delivering, with the final bulker to be delivered in March 2008.
TOP's shareholders are to vote December 13 on changing the company's name to TOP Ships to better reflected the makeup of the emerging fleet.
Source: www.tradewinds.gr, 9 November 2007 Vol. 8 / No. 42
Shipowners eye property ashore
---Increasing investment moves by shipowners, including takeovers and plans for takeovers, tend to be regarded as opportunistic, rather than strategic, by the domestic market.
According to a major real estate firm, it has been recently calculated that about one 1.0 percent of Greek land has come under the control of shipping firms in recent years. The liquidity generated by maritime operations has been and still is of such volume that it necessarily had to be invested somewhere, somehow. However, new alternatives are now being sought, as it seems that conditions in the real estate market have changed. Such alternatives include the acquisition of large shares, but not majority shares, in listed companies of small and medium capitalization.
Source: By Giorgos Mantelas - Kathimerini, 9 Nov 2007
Philip A Embiricos - Profile by Fairplay International Shipping Weekly
---As simple as Harry Potter
Dedicated to his Panamanian mother-in-law, the book was intended as a primer on shipping for Panamanian children that would also help increase support for the canal expansion; it followed his nine years on the canal advisory board.
A lot of Nitzias here
Family perceptions and international attitudes have always been part of the Embiricos family. He lives in London with his Panamanian wife Nitzia and has daughters Adriana and Nitzia (his mother-in-law, too, is called Nitzia).
Born in Geneva in 1943 to a Greek father in shipping and a French mother, he grew up in Switzerland and Tangier, Morocco. He was schooled at French boarding schools in Switzerland and Greece and became fluent in five languages: French, Spanish, English, Italian and Greek.
BIMCO has always been concerned with the relationships between those serving on ships and the authorities that they encounter.
One of his meetings was with the chief of the US Maritime Administration, Sean Connaughton.
Keep those functions together
Toward that end, Embiricos endorses a recent suggestion by Allen that the cadre of vessel inspectors should be increased and include career civilians and uniformed military.
Environmental issues remain a major concern for Embiricos, who thinks shipping is unfairly made a villain. Contrary to some scare stories, for example, Embiricos holds that shipping accounts for no more than 1.5% of carbon emissions. Another example is maritime fuel (see box below).
One reason for unfortunate micromanaging by governments is unfamiliarity with shipping.
A lot of states between the coasts
Adding fuel to the argument
Using residual fuels at sea serves an environmental imperative, Embiricos points out.
Name: Philip A Embiricos
Born: Geneva, Switzerland
Career: Began with tanker broking and the fibreglass fishing boat building industries; then joined Embiricos Shipping Agency in 1973 and became a director in 1979; became director of Embiricos Shipbrokers in 1995
Published: Author of The Quest for the Environmental Ship, a probabilistic approach to compare designs (1991)
Source: www.fairplay.co.uk, 08 Nov 2007