Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 06 - 2008

 

Efthymiou: Owners have obligation to support the Greek Flag

---Now the Greek government has recognised shipping is a pillar of the national economy, shipowners have an obligation to bring vessels under the Greek flag if they expect the government to support them at the European and wider international level. "Shipping needs the support of the government, but shipping should in turn show its support for the country," declared Nicos Efthymiou to the Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) agm.
He said that though measures taken by the government in November 2006 "to make the Greek vessel more competitive" are still some way behind those of other European countries, shipowners must register many more vessels under the Greek flag in 2008 than the 105 registered in 2007, and Efthymiou said that with the large backlog of newbuilding orders the ability to do so is there.
The UGS president said that even though shipping is operating under a very strict regulatory regime, "Greek owners have reacted in a way which has avoided a dead-end by building new ships" believing that operating modern ships is a way of avoiding accidents. New trading ships, and ships on order, give a Greek-controlled fleet of some 250m dwt, he noted.
He said this fleet is generating some EUR17bn in earnings for the Greek economy, while investment by shipowners on land is increasing as Piraeus strives to become a shipping and finance centre at a time when Greece is being transferred into an energy hub, with two major pipelines under construction in the north of the country. However, while the UGS supports government plans for the country's main container terminals, Efthymiou said Piraeus has infrastructural problems.
Maritime education and attracting young people to a career in shipping, especially a seagoing one, is a major concern. Noting only 1,088 applications were received for the 1,300 places available at the country's marine academies for the current year, Efthymiou recounted a conversation he recently had with a leading owner who has a big newbuilding programme and wants to put the Greek flag over the vessels. The owner said he needs 250 bridge crew to man the new ships and is wondering where he is going to find them.
This problem is industry-wide as young people do not want to go to sea. But for Greece, with a total population of 11m people, to man a fleet representing 15.5% of the world capacity is especially difficult. Japan has 128m people to man a fleet representing 14% of the world capacity. "More modern teaching methods are required in the marine academies, employing new technology and upgraded systems," said Efthymiou.
He said the UGS also backs Imo-led moves to reduce emissions and other forms of pollution.
Source: Issue nr. 5 (8 February 2008) of Newsfront Greek Shipping Intelligence newsletter. www.newsfront.gr


Greeks double spend
---The Greek fleet profile is undergoing some major changes as owners opt for newbuildings over secondhand tonnage.
Greek shipowners virtually doubled their spending on newbuildings, resale contracts and secondhand tonnage in 2007 for a total of close to a massive $50bn.
The figure is in itself noteworthy but combined with a clear precedence of newbuildings over secondhand tonnage, it highlights a change in character of the Greek shipping industry.
TradeWinds online reports figures released last week by Piraeus-based broker George Moundreas&Co show that during the course of the year Greek owners ordered 556 newbuildings at a total of $31.8bn, as compared with 322 ships costing a combined $16.6bn in 2006.
Moundreas indicates even these figures may not be definitive.
"Perhaps for the first time in recent years a considerable number of orders is still carefully hidden behind the curtain, pending refund-guarantee submissions or other conditions that make the deals uncertain," said Moundreas. It notes the figures include only official orders.
The broker adds spending on newbuildings is expected to be closer to $38bn.
On the sale-and-purchase (S&P) front of the equation, TradeWinds calculates the number of ships bought either as resale contracts or secondhand during 2007 not including two $1bn-plus purchases en bloc by New York-based companies led by Greek executives topped 400 and were worth around $17bn, as compared with about $9.6bn on 316 ships in 2006.
On the newbuilding side, the switch in preference from tankers to bulkers was also dramatic.
Orders for bulkers skyrocketed to a total of 371 vessels of 36.6 million dwt, as compared with 74 of 6.4 million dwt booked in 2006. Orders for tankers shrunk from 221 of 21 million dwt in 2006 to 113 of 6.2 million dwt last year.
The shift in ordering patterns also showed outside the bulk sectors. Moundreas notes that quite unexpectedly a substantial number of containerships were ordered by Greeks during 2007. Out of a total of 51 boxships booked, 17 were of 10,000 teu-plus, while a further 17 were in the 6,500-teu to 8,500-teu range. In 2006, just 15 boxships in total were ordered.
Moundreas says orders for LNG carriers fell victim to the postponement of a great number of projects, although 15 LPG carriers aggregating 425,000 cbm were booked.
Completing the broker's figures were six pure car carriers with a capacity for 13,800 cars, again not a sector that has traditionally been linked with Greek owners.
The Moundreas newbuilding-contracting department despite the long experience of senior consultant George Banos, who is behind the data declines to make any forecasts in light of market developments in early 2008. However, it does say it believes shipping-world concerns, such as growth in China and India, "Russia's new age" and "South American events", may be more important than the effect of the subprime problems or stock markets.
Some may question whether the huge swathe of orders, particularly for bulkers, will actually come to fruition.
Market sources see some Greek owners being prepared to pay the penalty for cancelling orders. Last week, Oslo-listed Jinhui Shipping axed orders for two very-large-ore-carrier (VLOC) newbuildings, citing a desire to reduce "unwanted business risk".
Meanwhile, at a chief executive forum in New York last week the heads of four listed dry-bulk operators, three of them Greeks, queried whether Chinese shipyards, especially the greenfield sites, would finally build and deliver the huge numbers of bulkers that have been ordered.
Booming markets have left cash-rich Greek owners looking to renew fleets and as secondhand prices pushed north, newbuildings seemed the economically logical solution. It remains to be seen whether the Greek procession to the shipyards that started some five years ago will continue to overshadow their traditional secondhand play.
By Gillian Whittaker, Athens, published: 08 February 2008
Source: http://www.tradewinds.no/weekly/w2008-02-08/article502489.ece


Attica Holdings concludes sale of RoRo Marin for 8.52 mln eur
---7h February, 2008
The Board of Directors of Attica Holdings S.A. wishes to announce that it has concluded the sale and delivery of its ice-class Ro-Ro vessel Marin to Compagnie Maritime Marfret. The delivery of Marin to her new owners took place yesterday in Patras, Greece.
The Board of Directors
For more information please contact: Attica Group, Mr. Yannis Criticos, Vice President of the Board, tel.: +30 210 891 9500, fax : +30 210 891 9509, e-mail: ir@attica-group.com, www.attica-group.com, www.superfast.com, www.bluestarferries.com
Source: http://www.attica-group.com/pdf/07_02_08_DELIVERY_MARIN-en.pdf


Grand Union in capesize order spree
---By Martyn Wingrove - Friday 8 February 2008
The orders, which have been rumoured in various forms for some time, include contracts for five ships of 180,000 dwt rather than six of 170,000 dwt as was widely reported by brokers in the last few days.
SungDong Shipbuilding has landed two of the 180,000-tonners as well as one of a slightly smaller 170,000 dwt configuration.
The other three vessels have been ordered at another Korean builder, probably at C&Heavy Industries, with which Grand Union was known to be negotiating last year.
The worth of the confirmed programme is estimated to be more than $550m and a feature of the projects is that the owner has managed to secure relatively early delivery dates, all within 2010.
In addition to the more recent capesizes, GU has on order in Korea six kamsarmaxes, with two options, and a series of up to five handymaxes, all for 2010-11. There are also a pair of 28,000 dwt vessels ordered in Japan.
The company has in the pipeline a series of 16,500 dwt tanker newbuildings from China and already this year it has acquired two modern product tankers, the British Environment and British Excellence, in a reported $94.5m deal with BP.
But the capesize commitment will particularly catch the eye as it comes just as some of the lust for investment in bulk carrier newbuildings seems to be draining from the market.
Apart from the reasonable delivery horizon for the ships, a company set on renewing an older portion of its fleet is likely to have reasoned that new constructions are unlikely to get cheaper with steel plate costs on the rise.
The shipbroker said that difficulties in securing refund guarantees and gaining bank finance may be delaying certain projects but predicted that the same less dynamic picture for new orders will prevail for at least the first two weeks of February.
Source: http://www.lloydslist.com/ll/news/viewArticle.htm?articleId=20017503441


FreeSeas Inc. Announces Inaugural Quarterly Dividend
---PIRAEUS, Greece, Feb. 7, 2008 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- FreeSeas Inc. (Nasdaq:FREE) (Nasdaq:FREEW) (Nasdaq:FREEZ) ("FreeSeas" or "the Company"), a provider of seaborne transportation for drybulk cargoes, announced today that its Board of Directors has declared a dividend of $0.175 per share on the common stock outstanding. The dividend will be paid on February 28, 2008 to stockholders of record as of February 18, 2008.
Ion Varouxakis, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of FreeSeas stated, "As per our stated policy, FreeSeas announced today the first of what we expect to be consistent quarterly dividend payments. We are confident that the revenue being generated by the Company, taking into account our anticipated cash needs and the current positive outlook for the industry, will continue to support our efforts to return value to our shareholders."
The Company expects to continue to pay a quarterly dividend of $0.175 per share at the annual rate of $0.70 per share during fiscal 2008.
Source: Prime Newswire, February 07, 2008: 09:15 AM EST


Top Ships announces delivery of the fourth drybulk & immediate charter
The M/V VOC GALLANT is the fourth of six drybulk vessel deliveries for the fourth quarter 2007 and first quarter 2008. The VOC GALLANT has been immediately chartered back to the sellers for a period of 18 months at a daily net rate of $25,650 on a bareboat basis.
About TOP Ships Inc
TOP Ships Inc, formerly known as TOP Tankers Inc., is an international provider of worldwide seaborne crude oil and petroleum products and of drybulk transportation services. The Company operates a combined tanker and drybulk fleet as follows:
Source: Press Release


Transcript of CEO Dry Bulk Forum held 30 Jan 2008 available at no cost
---The transcript of the CEO Dry Bulk Forum which took place on Wednesday, January 30, 2008 is available at no cost and anyone interested may request a copy through www.capitallinkshipping.com.
On Wednesday, January 30, 2008, the CEOs of:
-- DryShips (NasdaqGS:DRYS), George Economou,
-- Quintana Maritime (NasdaqGS:QMAR), Stamatis Molaris
-- Star Bulk Carriers (NasdaqGS:SBLK), Akis Tsirigakis and
-- TBS International (NasdaqGS:TBSI), Joseph Royce
participated in a Panel discussion on the developments in the dry bulk shipping sector.
The discussion was moderated by Nicolas Bornozis, President of Capital Link.
The Dry Bulk CEO Virtual Forum was organized by Capital Link, a New York-based Investor Relations and Financial Communications firm with strategic focus on shipping.
http://www.capitallinkshipping.com
Source:


Evergreen finally concludes deal for giant boxships
---Taipei: Taiwan's largest boxline has signed an agreement with Niki Group of Greece for the long-term charter of eight 12,400 teu vessels that will be delivered in 2011, a deal that finally gets the firm on the super post panamax trail despite the objections raised in the past by chairman Chang Yung-fa.
In a busy week for giant boxship orders despite a jittery world economy Hanjin Shipping has just signed for eight 12,500 teu ships through a long-term charter deal at a reported rate of $59,950 a day for 12 years, while Hapag-Lloyd confirmed this week an order for another six 8,400 teu ships. [08/02/08]
Source: http://www.seatradeasia-online.com/News/2303.html


Greece to Sell Its Ports
---6 February 2008, 12:53 / SeaNews
The Zim shipping firm may bid in the international tender for the privatization of the Salonica sea port, haaretz.com reports.
Athens has decided to privatize the country's two major ports, Piraeus and Salonica and issued the first tender for Salonica port, which has been appraised at 360 mn euros. The tender covers running the port for 30 years.
The winner must pay 25 mn upon signing an agreement with the Greek government, and the rest when the equipment is transferred to the port's new operator.
It should be pointed out that the Greek government's privatization plans have triggered violent protests and strikes on the part of port workers.
Source: http://seanews.info/news/news.asp?newsID=56684


Chinese interest in Greek ports confirmed
---Posted: February 03, 2008 at 00:32 AM EST (05:32 AM GMT)
After meeting with China's Trade minister Bo Xilai in Beijing on October 24, Alogoskoufis confirmed China's interest in acquiring stakes in Greece's two largest ports, Piraeus and Thessaloniki, reports Greek shipping intelligence newsletter Newsfront.
Greece wants to increase investment at the ports and make the country a transhipment hub for south-eastern Europe. China's Cosco and China Shipping Group, Hong Kong's Hutchinson Port Holdings, Dubai Ports Authority, AP Moller-Maersk, Zim and Hanjin have all expressed interest in becoming involved. International tenders for development of the ports are due to take place to take place within the coming. The Greek minister confirmed there would be Chinese bidders, and further said that shipping and tourism are the economic sectors where cooperation between the two countries has advanced the most.
Meanwhile, a six-person delegation from China's Water Resources Management sector visited the offices of the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association (Helmepa) in Piraeus last week to be informed about the aims and activities of Helmepa, and the globalisation of the initiative through the Intermepa association. They were told that creating a MEPA in China could contribute towards the goals of balanced development and protection of the environment. The head of the delegation, the vice commissioner of the much-acclaimed 'Three Gorges' dam project at Yangtze River, addressed the environmental challenges China is facing and invited Helmepa to participate in an international environmental conference to take place in China in 2007.
Xinhua
Source: http://www.phantis.com/news/?newsID=2008020303111


Hellenic Shipping News interviews Theofilos Xenakoudis, MD, IRI - Piraeus office
---Monday, 04.02.2008, 12:23am (GMT)
Registries are like a ''catalogue'' or a list if you'd like, where ships are registered on an international level. This means that each country chooses some ports of registry where ships are enlisted based on their type, tonnage, etc. A ship can be seen almost as a human being. It travels all over the world, it moves in coastal waters of various countries and as such, it needs a sort of ''passport'', in order to be able to fulfill its purpose. Without the proper documents from its Registry it is unable to travel, or get clearance to approach ports around the world.
Did Registries exist in the ancient world of trade, which was also conducted by sea for the most part?
I'd say that the concept of Registries is a relatively younger practice, with their roots found in Rome, where the first records of ship registries were found. It was later developed in England, during the 17th century, with the so called ''Navigation Acts'', which was created in order to prevent foreign flagged vessels taking advantage by engaging in maritime trade activities that could be done by ships flying the British flag.
What's the difference between Registries and Classification Societies?
Well, these two basically come together. A Registry provides the ship's nationality, flag and identity, while a Classification Society performs inspections of ships and classifies them on the basis of their type (i.e., oil tanker, dry bulk carrier, LNG, LPG, etc.), something which is done during a ship's construction phase. Registries and Classification Societies are working together when it comes to International Conventions signed by a State, under the guidance and auspices of IMO. When each State signs such a Convention, it usually appoints a Classification Society to act on its behalf, as a Recognized Organization. So, the cooperation is direct and frequent, benefiting, at the end of the day, the maritime sector.
International Registries, Inc. represents the Marshall Islands Registry in Hellas. When did this cooperation begin?
Let me start by saying that our company was founded 60 years ago, in 1948, in order to meet the rising demand of U.S. trade and products all over the world. So, for the next 50 years and until the year 2000, we were managing the Liberian Registry. But during the 1990's and because of the political instability in Liberia, we had concluded into an agreement with the Republic of The Marshall Islands (early of 1990's). Essentially, the big evolution of the Registry became apparent after 2000, when the cooperation and agreement with the Liberian State came to an end. The Marshall Islands is an independent state from 1986 and a member of U.N. from 1991.
Could you provide us with some figures regarding the Registry's profile and ships?
I can tell you that we have approximately 1,660 ships flying the Marshall Islands flag on a worldwide basis. About 25%-30% of this number involves vessels controlled by Greek interests. Beginning 2000, which marked the actual beginning of operation of the Flag State, it is estimated that, on average, the number of ships flying the flag each year is increasing by 20%-25%, also taking into account that some ships are changing registry or are headed for demolition. In terms of tonnage, the figure is increased at a pace of about 15%-20% annually. It's important to say that in terms of tonnage we are the Fourth (4th) Maritime Registry worldwide, with approximately 38.5 million G.T. (Gross Tonnage).
Are there any requirements from your part, in order to accept a ship in the Registry?
Yes, we employ an assessment procedure both for the ships and the shipmanagement companies. For instance, the age limit for each new ship coming into the Registry is 20 years old. But if a ship is in very good shape and the company's previous record is solid, we might make an exemption, under the term that we shall perform a thorough pre-registration inspection of the vessel. For me there is no such thing as a ''bad'' vessel. A ''bad'' vessel is turned into such. That's why it's rather important to emphasize on the track record, quality and reputation of the shipmanager prior to the ship's registration.
How does a shipowner usually choose the proper Registry?
Well, there are many factors. Some people will say that the number one issue is the cost of the Registry. Of course, the cost factor is very important and one has to be competitive, in order to retain a large market share. Equally important are the ratings that the Registry receives from various Port State Control organizations globally, which inspect the vessels. There are a number of MOUs (Memorandums of Understanding), like the Paris MOU, the Tokyo MOU, or the U.S. Coast Guard, which have databases publicly available to anyone. These figures actually act as a benchmark for the industry evaluating each Flag State, distinguishing between Black Listed, the Grey Listed and White Listed Flags (White List being the best rating), depending on each state's track record.
What types of charging fees exist in terms of registering a vessel?
First there are the registration fees, which apply to any new coming vessel, which are a one-off fee. Then, we have expenses for the issuance of the necessary certificates, and finally we have the annual fees, which depend on the ship's tonnage; the bigger the ship, the higher the fees. We also have some inspection fees, because our Flag State implements an annual inspection programme on all of the registered vessels, flying the Marshall Islands flag. I'd like to add that we have developed two kinds of payment. We have the so called Option A and Option B. For example, Option B was introduced in order to attract larger and modern vessels en-bloc. In order to achieve that, a little higher registration fees are imposed, which are one-off as previously mentioned, but on the other hand we are accordingly reducing significantly the annual fees that the shipowner has to pay for each ship. This billing method is beneficial for younger ships or for an en-bloc registration of 10 ships for example, because the registration fees can be also reduced, regardless of when they will be registered (if for instance a shipowner is expecting newbuilding deliveries over a period of time).
What's the average cost of registering a vessel?
It's difficult to provide an accurate figure, because it all comes down to ship's type and size. The minimum, based on Option A, is approximately $4,000 annually. As for the registration fees, these bear a fixed price of $2,500.
How is competition shaped between Registries? Which are the differences from Registry to Registry? Is it only a matter of different pricing?
Generally speaking, most Registries impose similar fees. Marshall Islands is quite competitive, something we've tried to achieve, in order to attract more customers. But for me, quality is what differentiates various Registries. The registered fleet's quality, based on its average age is quite important, as well as the Registries record on the MOU's evaluation scale. I'm proud to say that Marshall Islands is the only major open Registry, which is certified for the third consecutive year under Qualship 21. This is a U.S. Coast Guard certification, which recognizes the Registry's quality and reliability in US ports. This is quite an achievement, given that the U.S. authorities are very serious and rigid when it comes to quality standards. It is also very important for our Registry, because there are lot of vessels employed in trade with the U.S.
Another thing which is quite important for each Registry is the close cooperation with Classification Societies, which should enable the exchange of valuable information. And of course the quality of services is equally essential in differentiating Registries. Whether we like it or not Registries are service providers, they don't sell something tangible, a specific product. As a result, we are compelled to continuously improve the quality of our services. This can be done only when one has strategically located offices and experienced staff that can help the customer, not only during the registration process, but also afterwards. Many people tend to think, that the Registry's purpose stops at the completion of the registration process, but this if far from the reality. We are closely monitoring all of our registered vessels and are closely working together with Hellenic ship owners and try to help them with any problems that may occur onboard the vessel.
Which are the most typical problems that you have to deal with?
Usually, they involve small accidents like groundings, or minor collisions. In such cases we dispatch an investigator, who interviews the ship's captain and officers, while we also receive a thorough report from the shipping company which owns the vessel. In serious accidents we are obligated to provide IMO with a detailed report on the incident. Such reports are aimed at preventing similar accidents in the future, which makes the role of Flag States a rather important one. This is the basis of all IMO's rules and guidelines regarding sea navigation and safety.
How difficult is it to keep track of a ship, which is usually travelling around the world, not to mention have someone sent onboard?
Definitely, it's not easy, but it is possible if you develop a worldwide network of offices, which is exactly what we did. We operate 15 offices around the world, many of which are in Asia, with headquarters in Hong Kong and branches in Singapore, Tokyo, Korea and two more in China, where many vessels are built. We have to keep our presence there, in order to assist our clients during the ship's building process, but also the Classification Societies. We have also established a network of local inspectors globally, which of course don't maintain an exclusive relationship with the Registry, but act mainly on a subcontractor basis, in case a certain need arises.
How do you find these people? What kind of experience do they have?
To tell you the truth it's difficult, because you have to find people which you can totally trust, highly experienced and trained. Usually, we employ former ship masters, or people with experience in shipping companies. The combination of experience both in land and at sea is the best, in order to do the inspection job effectively. They must be locals, since the local knowledge of things like language, procedures, culture and habits is a major advantage in case of an incident.
During the last years, there is a lot of debate, usually in a negative manner, regarding the so called ''flags of convenience''. Is this justified?
My opinion is that in today's world, it's a mistake to use the term ''flag of convenience''. It's an old term, which developed during the previous 2-3 decades. During the 1970's the ratio between National Registries and Open Registries was 70%-30% accordingly. Today's this ratio is almost the opposite. Those who expressed their objections on Flags of Convenience did it because they believed that these Open Registries didn't follow the rules, in terms of safety and environmental pollution. Another issue had to do with crew members. It was perceived that by flying an open registry flag, local seafarers would be sentenced to oblivion, remaining unemployed. That was because by flying such a flag, as a shipowner, you could employ seafarers of other nationalities. The thing is that no rule was set against using local crew members in a Foreign Flag. Open registries simply don't limit the accessibility of a shipowner, based on his nationality, the crew's nationalities and other such limitations, like for instance where the vessel will be built, etc.
I believe that the differentiation should not be between National Registries and Open Registries. It should be between good and bag Registries. It can go either way.
Let me put it in an other perspective. Are there major differences in terms of organization, between an open registry and a flag state registry?
Yes there are differences. Our structure and philosophy of business is evidently different, because we essentially are a private company, as opposed to a National Registry. Therefore, we try to provide the best possible service, as competitive as one can be, without compromising the level of quality standards and customer satisfaction. There is also the case of open registries which are state owned and operated, which is another category. In this case it's more difficult to take the necessary initiatives, in order to increase one's competitiveness, since things like bureaucracy tend to get in the way.
Source: http://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/index.php?mod=article&cat=Interviews&article=8474


Voulgarakis in New York
---Athens News Agency, Greece - Feb 7, 2008
Greek Merchant Marine and Island Policy Minister George Voulgarakis in New York on Thursday attended a luncheon in Manhattan, hosted by the Alexandros Onassis Foundation.
The Alexandros Onassis Foundation is doing a superb job on the projection of our country,? said Voulgarakis, stressing that during his tenure at the culture ministry, he had ?excellent cooperation with the Foundation,? hailing its contribution to Greek culture.
The merchant marine minister was also the main speaker at a shipping conference organised by the American-Hellenic Chamber on the theme "Shipping Markets".
Source: http://www.ana.gr/anaweb/user/showplain?maindoc=6127580&maindocimg=4676171&service=94


Athenian and Viking Confab
The day started off with derivatives, a tough topic for early in the morning. Nevertheless, the presenters pulled it off and kept everyone interested. To start off Robert Shaw of Mystras Ventures gave a great overview and primer on freight derivatives. In particular, he emphasized their importance of derivatives for hedging but noted that freight volatility and correlation with other commodities has attracted financial players into the market, a recurrent theme.
Mike McClure of Navios was next and he delved into more detail including setting the historical context going back to Biffex in 1985. He, too, mentioned, the large influx of financial players based upon largely on market volatility and demonstrated this with a great graph which plotted the capesize and panamax curves against the performance of the shares on the London Stock Exchange. He then discussed spread and correlation trades. With respect to the latter, he noted the correlation between shipping stock performance and the BDI and confirmed to the unhappiness of all that the market does not distinguish between dry bulk companies.
Finally based upon the growth of the physical market to which he applied a multiple, he project a paper market of over a trillion dollars by 2012.
Mike Reardon provided two interesting insights. The first was a slide that compared the volatility of freight against other commodities including wheat, corn and gold. Surprisingly, for us, freight was the most volatile by 2 or 3 times. More importantly, he made a strong case that it is supply and demand that is driving rates not freight derivatives. It is the bidding for the last available ship that determines the market rate.
Professor Kavussanos of Athens University picked up on that theme and described a number of statistical studies that confirm the thesis that FFAs have in fact taken the volatility out of the market in all routes.
Mr. Rutkowski then asked him about financing for new entrants. To which Mr. Nachamkin noted that financing for new entrants is always challenging in good times or bad. Sometimes recognized people who have left a known entity have a chance but in reality banks are not the place for newcomers.
Finally, when asked about his outlook for 2008, Mr. Baker said he expects to do fewer deals and make more money, a business model, which made Mr. Rutkowski envious.
The spotlight or the roasting then turned on to the investment bankers, Mark Friedman of Merrill and Loli Wu of Citi. Mr. Friedman noted that although the market enjoyed lots of activity in 2005 to 2007, 2008 would be different. He anticipates it will be a very challenging year for IPOs and high yield bonds given the tremendous market volatility. Given the volatility, in a tough and volatile market, investors need to be incentivized to participate in new offerings. On the other hand, if the market stabilizes or experiences positive momentum, investors will not want to miss a good deal. Momentum is a critical factor in the decision-making process.
Mr. Baker and Mr. Nachamkin disagreed on the value of share price when gauging a company. It means nothing to Mr. Baker although they do appreciate the governance that is required of public companies.
For DnB NOR, whose strategy has been to focus on the major corporate names, the share price is important as an indicator of how a company is valued and is used as part of the underlying valuation analysis. If there are gaps questions need to be asked.
All agreed that SPACs had become a big asset class ($900 MM transaction for Pelz) and with the right sponsors the deal could be distributed. The differentiating factor between SPACs was finding the right management team who can find value and source deals.
Finally, Mr. Shaerf, wearing his NYMAR hat reminded everyone that New York is the place to be given the amazing concentration of capital, liquidity and services available for the industry.
The answer is watch metallurgical coal. But do try to get your hands on the presentation.
The afternoon had a panel on the real costs of shipping, which are becoming a real concern, and the currency markets. The latter panel had two lively but dismal economists. They did not paint a pretty picture for 2008. Mr. De Kock noted that commercial loan volume was running 3 standard deviations from normal volumes and default rates on housing were at recessionary levels. The key to ending the credit crisis is to stabilize the housing market so that the Fed has no choice but to continue to lower rates which he anticipates may go to 2% or less. Mr. Anders Karlsen of Nordea brought it down to our level by providing a detailed analysis on the impact of the weak dollar on shipping to end the day.
We tip our hats to both Chambers of Commerce for a great day.
Source: Freshly Minted weekly by www.marinemoney.com, VOLUME 4, ISSUE 6, February 7, 2008


Vassilis Theodoropoulos appointed COO of HSBC Greece
Mr Vassilis Theodoropoulos was appointed as Chief Operating Officer of HSBC Greece. Mr Theodoropoulos studied in City University, Pace University of New York and in Columbia University. He has worked at DELL Greece, Millenium Bank, IBM North America, IBM Greece, JP Morgan Chase in New York. CEO of HSBC Greece, Matthew Bosrock, welcomed the new COO to HSBC.
Source: 15:22 - 07 February 2008,


Maran Gas Maritime Inc. chooses the Seagull Training System
Seagull AS is pleased to announce that Maran Gas Maritime Inc. has chosen the new Seagull Training System with the complete Seagull CBT library for their office and ships.
Seagull AS is pleased to announce that Maran Gas Maritime Inc. has chosen the new Seagull Training System with the complete Seagull CBT library for their office and ships.
Maran Gas Maritime Inc. operates a modern fleet of Gas tankers with several new ships under construction. Maran Gas Maritime Inc. is the gas shipping unit of the Angelicoussis Shipping Group Ltd, a large independent shipping company. The Angelicoussis Shipping Group Ltd. has a well established track record in shipping dating back to 1947.
Maran Gas Maritime Inc. welcomes the opportunity of working with Seagull AS and looks forward to implementing the Seagull Training System on board their vessels. Maran Gas Maritime Inc. firmly believes that this training solution will contribute to its ambitious goals of:
ZERO accidents
ZERO oil spills to the sea
ZERO spill, leakage or unauthorized venting of cargo
The Seagull Training System consists of a dedicated training computer, in which all training and administration programs are pre-installed and configured by Seagull.
Incorporated in the Seagull Training System is the Training Administrator, which organizes student participation and tracks performance. The Seagull Training System has a large library of training material including approved statutory courses which students can complete while onboard.
This is an extremely cost effective training concept, where theoretical knowledge is covered by CBT programs, combined with structured and practical on-the-job training. It has been well received by the Officers and Crew who find the System easy to use and welcome the flexibility it affords to train at times convenient to their busy schedules as they continue to fulfilling their active responsibilities onboard the ship.
Maran Gas Maritime Inc. is committed to providing world-class Shipping Management services that meet and exceed safety, environmental and customer requirements and to conducting its operations in a manner which protects human health, the environment and property. Seagull looks forward to working with Maran Gas Maritime Inc. and help to meet these objectives by effective training.
Source: (8 February, 2008), Seagull Newsletter, visit www.seagull.no