Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 10 - 2008

 

Newship ordering slows under a combination of factors

---One of the most impressive pieces of data to emerge during the meeting in London between the leaders of the Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee and the Union of Greek Shipowners at the end of February was the current state of the Greek newbuilding orderbook.
According to the figures released by the London-based GSCC, the orderbook for Greek interests stood at 1,054 ships of over 1,000gt, on February 18. The carrying capacity of this orderbook is about 86m dwt, a mark of the Greek community's belief in the growth of the industry in the years to come.
As the overwhelming figures were being complied however, the ordering of new ships by Greeks was in something of a slump. According to newbuilding contracting specialist George Moundreas & Co, February was the slowest month in almost two years, in terms of newbuilding investment by Greeks.
The shipbroker reports a mere 11 vessels of 649,000dwt were ordered by just three shipping com-panies, for an investment of $517m. Average each month of 2007, was 30-35 vessels booked. Moundreas did not include orders placed by StealthGas for five LPG carriers in Japan.
The slowdown in ordering activity should not cause alarm, at least for now, said Moundreas.
The broker said many ships are under negotiation, while some owners "are lurking for the right opportunity to emerge, since caution is the word for now".
Then the report notes the slowdown can only be compared "with last year's frenetic pace of newbuilding orders by Greek shipowners". Further, there are reasons for the drop off. China's Lunar Year celebrations kept shipyards off work for 10 days. Furthermore, there is a shortage of available berths at the largest and most popular shipyards around the world, especially in China, which translates to deliveries being pushed back to the end of 2010 and in some cases even 2012.
It also noted there is concern over future prospects of the world's economy after the developments which have occurred in previous months, with the subprime loan crash in the US triggering a credit crunch.
Moundreas said: "This has prompted a debate among analysts as to whether we will see newbuilding orders cancelled, due to a lack of financing. In some cases, this has already been observed, but for the moment it is an isolated phenomenon." Generally Moundreas believes the global economy, which is directly linked to shipping, remains on a positive course, as it is mainly fuelled by BRIC countries, i.e. Brazil, Russia, India and China, whose economies continue to boom albeit at a slower pace than in the past.
"Still," says Moundreas, "the constantly rising steel prices prompt shipyards to hesitant when it comes to committing berths for long periods of time."
Source: Issue 9 (7 March 2008) of Newsfront Greek Shipping Intelligence newsletter.


HSH Nordbank arranges two important Syndication Transactions in Greece
As Bookrunner and Lead Arranger, HSH Nordbank has arranged and structured a USD 350 million revolving credit facility for NASDAQ listed Capital Product Partners LP for the acquisition of several tankers. A group of four other banks was involved.
The second syndication transaction is a USD 204 million loan facility for the financing of seven bulker newbuildings for clients of Primera Maritime (Hellas) Ltd, Athens. Apart from HSH Nordbank as Lead Arranger, two other banks are participating in this Club Deal.
Contact:
HSH Nordbank AG
Christian Buchholz
Spokesman
Tel.+49-40/33 33-10872, Fax 33 33-610872,
christian.buchholz@hsh-nordbank.com
Source: HSH Nordbank, Press Release


Voulgarakis issues open invite
---Greece is looking to cash in on tax wrangles in the UK and attract shipowners back to its shores.
Shipping minister George Voulgarakis is targeting London-based companies, unsettled by non-domiciled tax plans, to bolster the presence of Piraeus on the international stage.
He said: ''We are interested in turning Piraeus into a global maritime centre and I've asked ship owners in London and Hellas to increase their presence in seas by raising more Hellenic flags on their vessels.
It is thought 20% of the Greek fleet is controlled from the UK. It is estimated shipping contributes about $2m per minute to the Greek economy.
By Andy Pierce in London, published: 12:50 GMT, 03 March 2008 | last updated: 12:54 GMT, 03 March 2008
Source: http://www.tradewinds.no/daily/article504438.ece


Plans to draw shipping firms to Piraeus may include tax breaks
---Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis has been informing London-based Greek shipping firms, which control about 20 percent of the Greek-backed commercial shipping fleet, on the benefits of relocating to Piraeus.
By Stelios Bouras - Kathimerini English Edition
The government is putting together a series of incentives, which may include tax breaks, to draw leading shipping firms from around the world to Piraeus as Greek shipowners start to express interest in moving out of London.
Shipping is facing the possibility of a major shift, with some of the sector's largest players considering a move away from the British capital in response to plans from authorities to introduce a new tax on foreign individuals.
Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis, who met with Greek shipowners in the British capital last week, said yesterday Greece will aim to create a more favorable business environment in Piraeus.
Talk of Greek family-owned shipping companies moving out of London has been sparked by plans from Britain's Treasury to charge non-domiciled foreign residents with a new 30,000-pound (39,720-euro) tax. According to sources, about 30 companies have moved to Athens from London since 2000 due to concerns they would become liable for income tax on foreign earnings.
Source: http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/news/content.asp?aid=94112


Aries up for sale?
Source: http://www.fairplay.co.uk/secure/display.aspx?articlename=dn0020080307000026


Hellenic Carriers Announcement Date of Earnings Release, Conference Call and Webcast
Earnings Release: Wednesday, 12 March 2008, before the market opens in London
Conference Call and Webcast: Wednesday, 12 March 2008, at 4:30 P.M. (GMT); 6:30 P.M. (Athens) and 12:30 P.M. (EDT)
A telephonic replay of the conference call will be available until 19 March, 2008 by dialling 0800-953-1533 (UK Toll Free Dial-in), 1-866-247-4222 (US Toll Free Dial-in), or +44 (0)1452-550-000 (Standard International Dial-in). Access Code: 36347958#
Slides and audio webcast: There will also be a live and then archived webcast of the conference call, accessible through the Hellenic Carriers website (www.hellenic-carriers.com). Participants to the live webcast should register on the website approximately 10 minutes prior to the start of the webcast.
For further information please contact:
Hellenic Carriers Limited
Fotini Karamanlis, Chief Executive Officer
E-mail: info@hellenic-carriers.com +30 210 455 8900
Source: Press Release 7 March 2008


Sea World orders chemical tanker series at SPP
---By Nigel Lowry and Paul Tugwell, Athens - Wednesday 5 March 2008
The project, which is likely to be worth more than $300m if all six vessels are constructed, has gone to SPP Shipbuilding.
It is understood to involve four firm tankers of 50,000 dwt, with two options that will have to be declared by next month.
Since 2000 the company has primarily grown its fleet through shipbuilding orders and newbuilding resale acquisitions.
The latest tankers are scheduled for delivery starting in spring next year through to the summer of 2010. They are to be classed by American Bureau of Shipping.
The Athens based company has shown its preference in the past for medium to long term charters for its fleet.
With this background, it is likely that lengthy charter business will be lined up for the ships sooner rather than later.
Source: http://www1.lloydslist.com/ll/news/viewArticle.htm;jsessionid=F5BDFE4B0575A486A1C6EEC7E3E7E29E?articleId=20017512004


TOP Ships (TOPS) Announces Delivery of the Fifth Drybulk Vessel
The M/V PEPITO is the fifth of six drybulk vessel deliveries for the fourth quarter 2007 and first quarter 2008. The PEPITO has entered into a time-charter employment for a period of 60-70 days at a daily net rate of $55,000.
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: TOPS press release


Move in the Right Circles
The register of alumni reads like a roster from an accomplished industry club. Sons and daughters from prominent shipping families join their fellow students, including expert bankers, worldly college grads and talented mariners, to take on the academic program and follow in the traditions of those before them that have drafted the deals and built the companies we admire today.
Source: By Sofia Vassilakis, Marine Money Magazine, January 2008


Minerva Marine Inc. chooses the Seagull Training System
Seagull AS is pleased to announce that Minerva Marine Inc. has chosen the new Seagull Training System with the complete Seagull CBT library for their offices and ships.
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 and also training material to complete some approved statutory onboard courses. 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.
Minerva Marine Inc. is a young progressive and dynamic ship management Company, which started as an offspring of Thenamaris and now operates independently a fleet of over 30 tankers with an average age of 3.7 years. The structure of the fleet ranges between Medium Range Product tankers to Suezmax Crude Oil Carriers.
Minerva Marine Inc. welcomes the opportunity of working with Seagull AS and looks forward to implementing the Seagull Training System on board their vessels and offices, as they firmly believe that this training solution in combination with the existing ship and shore based training programs will contribute to a high level of competence of their seafarers and will enhance its effort towards the achievement of flawless operations.
For more, visit: www.seagull.no
Source: (6 March, 2008), Press Release:


Greeks shipping firms oppose pollution controls
The London-based Union of Greek Shipowners and the Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee issued the joint warning after holding talks with Greek Minister of Mercantile Shipping George Voulgarakis in London.
"Sea transport is the best way of preserving the environment," the statement said, underlining that it was the least polluting form of transportation.
It said moves to include shipping companies -- which have so far escaped emission-cutting regulations -- would "lead to a fall in maritime trade ... and raise the price of goods and services."
About 90 percent of of world trade by volume moves on sea, according to estimates.
A soon-to-be published UN study reproduced in the British press says the annual carbon dioxide emissions from shipping total 1.12 billion tonnes per year, or 4.5 percent of the world's total.
Source: http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5j6Z5X5vxETJVlJAvPyTjJq5PAlxg


Pireaus port concession process suffers major setback
---Yesterday's court decision against Piraeus Port Authority's (OLP) attempt to rule the ongoing strikes as illegal and thus stop them was a major win for dockworkers' Unions, which have overcome one major hurdle in their effort to stop the tendering process to allow foreign private operators to take control of the port's two out of three major container terminals.
As a result, today's planned 24-hour strike is expected to have a somewhat celebrating nature, since new hopes have emerged in the dockworkerss fierce fight against the port's change of status quo, which would lead to job reductions, according to union leaders. That, despite the Ministry's pledge to secure all jobs threatened by means of early retirement or relocation to other state companies.
The questions now are multiplied, since nobody can tell what the outcome of the continuing strikes will be, not only to the country's economy, which already is showing signs of suffering, especially in areas like import or export companies, but also in the bidding process itself. It was only Monday, that Minister of Mercantile Shipping, George Voulgarakis expressed his belief, that the process will have been completed in the beginning of summer, both for the Port of Piraeus, but also for the one in Thessalonica, in northern Greece. The main concern of dockworkers regards potential lay-offs that will follow the concessioning of the ports' operations to private foreign companies. Amid this climate, economic sectors, like foods, commerce, exports, port service activities, chemical and pharmaceutical industry are already suffering.
Source: Wednesday, 05.03.2008, 12:23am (GMT), http://www.hellenicshippingnews.com//index.php?mod=article&cat=Hellenicnews&article=10077