Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 18 - 2008


Greek fleet

---01 May 2008 12:00 AM
One of the reasons why Posidonia is such a success is that equipment makers and service providers recognise the importance of the Greek fleet.
That may not have been the case when the first Posidonia was held almost 40 years ago and the Greek fleet was scorned as consisting of second-hand rustbuckets. Today Greek companies own and operate some of the most modern ships afloat and account for a good proportion of newbuildings and ships on order.
Analysing the Greek flag fleet is relatively simple since it covers only vessels actually flying the flag. Defining the Greek-operated fleet is more difficult. Greek influence is spread so widely throughout shipping, with many vessels registered under open registers and managed by Greek-run or Greek-owned companies based around the world.
At the beginning of April, no less than 1,539 commercial vessels were sailing under the Greek flag, in addition to a further 524 ships on order with delivery dates scheduled before the end of 2012.
Of the existing ships, 500 are under 10 years old and a further 119 are aged between 11 and 15 years.
At the other end of the scale, there are 670 vessels over 26 years of age, including 131 tankers of which the oldest is an astonishing 72 years old.That there are so many elderly vessels should not come as a surprise.
Greece is a nation of numerous islands and as a consequence there will be many small ferries and coasters used for transporting goods between them.
The majority of the elderly tankers are very small vessels with cargo capacities in most cases under 1,000 tonnes, indicating that they are used for bunkering at ports and inter-island transport. It is also quite likely that a large number transport water and olive oil rather than petroleum products.
Across the age range of the Greek-flagged fleet, tankers feature much more prominently than bulkers as the most popular vessel type.
This scenario also holds true for the scheduled newbuildings over the next two years, but from 2010 onwards it is bulkers that Greek owners have plumped for in the greatest numbers.
Orders as a proportion of the fleet
The profile of the Greek-controlled, as opposed to the Greek flag, fleet is remarkably similar, except that the number of newbuildings on order stands at only 27% of the existing fleet rather than 34%.
Adding the figures for Greek-flag and Greek-controlled ships together gives a grand total of 3,399 vessels, plus a further 1,029 on order.
Sharp-eyed readers will notice that the on-order figure is different from that used in the summary data in the Newbuildings section of this issue of Solutions.
This is in part because of the difference in the dates used in compiling the statistics. Also, some of the vessels included in the 1,029 on order will be recorded within the Unknown figure in the data pages because of uncertainty over exact beneficial ownership.
Ships listed in the Pending section of the data pages have not been included.
Largest under Greek control
The largest vessel in terms of deadweight in the Greek-controlled fleet is the ULCC Astro Canopus (320,472dwt). The ship is registered to Destijl Shipping of Liberia and managed by Kristen Navigation. It was built by Daewoo in 2007. Main engine is a Doosan-built MAN B&W 6S90MC-C of 24,912kW. According to LR-Fairplay records the beneficial owner is Anangel Shipping Enterprises, which has several more vessels of a similar size on order.
Oldest and newest
According to LR-Fairplay data, the oldest ship in the Greek-flagged fleet is Gialiskarion, built in the UK in 1913. The 119gt ship is a general cargo vessel with two holds. An MaK engine of 221kW was fitted in 1953.
The newest vessel listed in the data used to compile the statistics was Ocean Princess, a 50,549 dwt chemical/products tanker which was delivered to Hellenic Star Shipping in March this year. The vessel was built by SPP Plant & Shipbuilding in Sacheon, South Korea. The ship is fitted with an STX-built MAN B&W 6S50MC-C engine of 9,480kW.

Greeks back for SPP tankers
---Polys Haji-Ioannou and Benelux are adding to earlier orders in South Korea.
SPP Shipbuilding of South Korea has won orders from Greek owners for four handymax oil/chemical tankers.
Polys Haji-Ioannou and Benelux Overseas are said to have added to earlier orders placed at the yard for 50,000-dwt tankers.
According to well-placed sources, both shipowners are paying close to $52m per ship. Deliveries are scheduled in 2011.
The latest order means Haji-Ioannou has a total of six ships on order at SPP. The owner's earlier three vessels, which are sisterships to the latest newbuildings, were contracted about two years ago at the reported price of between $47m and $50m per ship. He is scheduled to take delivery of them next year.
As for Benelux, the booking of a single 50,000-dwt handymax tanker brings the total number of such ships booked at SPP to four. The company is slated to take delivery of its two earlier vessels in the second half of 2008 and the third in April 2009.
Benelux is an active player on the newbuilding front. It was recently reported to have exercised an option for two 13,000-dwt chemical tankers at STX Shipbuilding for delivery in July and October 2009. No price was revealed. Benelux now has four similar units booked at the South Korean yard. It is scheduled to take delivery of the other two ships in Decembr 2008 and April 2009. In addition, STX is also building three 9,000-cbm ethylene carriers for the Greek company.
SPP, which is 30% owned by investment bank Goldman Sachs, is said to have built up an order backlog of 169 newbuildings of around 8.5 million dwt at its two yards in Tongyeong and Sacheon. SPP is reported to be seeking a listing on the Seoul exchange in the second half of this year. The company hopes to raise up to $300m from the initial public offering (IPO).
Irene Ang Singapore
published: 01 May 2008

ASE moving closer to implementing listing rules
---The board of the Athens Stock Exchange is moving closer to implementing rules aimed at making it easier for companies operating oceangoing ships to list their shares in the stock market. After exhaustive deliberations a long awaited revised set of rules is nearing completion.
It is at least the third time the rules have been revised and exchange authorities believe they are now close to what the shipping industry is seeking. To now there has been a major problem with the offshore nature of shipowing and ship operation with the result only ferry companies operating primarily in the domestic network are trading shares on the ASE.
While market watchers say the new rules are close to finalisation, little has officially be disclosed about them or the criteria that will be used to evalutate each shipowning company's suitability to list its shares. This criteria is presently based on the number of ships, in combination with their value and total capacity, the kind of insurance cover provided, the outstanding loans and the registry.
The provision of information regarding oceangoing shipping companies has to now been a problem. At present, if the managing company is not directly affiliated or, in any way, related to the ship owning issuing company, the latter must provide information on the shipmanager, its founders, principal shareholders and the terms of relationship in place between the shipmanager and shipowner. It is believed the changing regulatory climate in shipping generally has encouraged market regulators on the question of transparency, with the regulations stipulating ship managers operate in accordance with international treaties and have the experience and level of expertise to provide the services demanded of shipping companies.
Small and medium-sized Greek companies are expected to show most interest as it becomes more difficult for them to secure funding to enable them to expan and upgrade in a highly competitive marketplace. In the past two years several Greek bulk carrier operators have successfully tapped London's AIM market, floating placements raising an average $50m, which has enabled them to expand their operations.
-- Filed: 2008-04-30

Fears grow over London's shipping status
---Michelle Wiese Bockmann - Monday 28 April 2008
Dark clouds: London's maritime status threatened by non-dom tax.
But many more Greek owners will consider their positions over the summer and probably leave as well, according to leading maritime lawyer and UK Chamber of Shipping president Martin Watson.
The departures are a blow to the embattled UK government of Gordon Brown.
As their trusted London-based employees resigned or retired Greek shipowners tired of commuting from Europe to the UK would close down their London office and recruit locally, he said.
Non-doms have moved to Switzerland, Greece, and even Singapore, where tax jurisdications were more stable or favourable, the tax specialist said.
The Chamber of Shipping said it was unlikely those owners who left would ever come back.
Many were also nervous about changes to property ownership and occupation tax structures that opened up their trusts to greater regulatory scrutiny in the UK.
The high cost of living in London, and weakness of the sterling against other currencies could also influence decisions, he said.

Delta Tankers orders VLCCs for USD 156 million per unit
---SSG-GOTEBORG. Greek Delta Tanker recently ordered three VLCCs from Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea and agreed to pay record high USD 156 million per unit. The agreed price is two million higher than the previous record, when Oman Shipping Company earlier this year ordered VLCCs at a price of USD 154 million per unit from Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, South Korea, reports the news site Sea Trade Asia.(30.04.08)

Genco Shipping - 1Q Earnings Beat Estimates; Raises Annual Dividend to $4/share
---Genco Shipping (GNK / NYSE) reported 1Q08 earnings of $1.65/share, excluding a $26.2M gain related to the sale of the Genco Trader. The results beat our $1.56/share estimate as well as the $1.50/share consensus forecast. Genco also raised its quarterly payout to $1.00/share, up from the $0.85/share target the company set just last quarter. Prior to that raise, Genco had been paying out $0.66/share.
>During 1Q, Genco took delivery of the Capesize vessel Genco Constantine, its fifth delivery from the 9-vessel Capesize acquisition last summer and is the second vessel with a 50% profit sharing arrangement in place. We view profit-share agreements quite favorably as the base charter of $52,750/day provides a strong return in itself but taking into account the 2Q Capesize market average of $140,000/day, the Genco Constantine has earned over $96,000/day thus far into the quarter.
>Genco has been the top performing dry bulk stock this year, leading a recent rally across the space and garnering a premium valuation to its peers. However, considering the momentum behind the dry bulk market, we feel the stock maintains considerable upside. Currently, Capesize rates stand at year-to-date highs above $170,000/day. The futures market has been firming as well with the forward Capesize rate for the remainder of 2008 standing at close to $148,000/day.
>With approximately 81% of its remaining 2008 operating days locked in on contract and four additional Capesizes to be delivered this year and in 2009, Genco combines competitive visibility, solid growth and exposure to a strong dry bulk market. The new $4.00/share annual dividend represents just 45% of our 2008 CF estimate of $8.86/share and 38% of our $10.50/share 2009 CF estimate. As such we believe the company has considerable flexibility to continue growing and increasing payout. We reiterate our Buy rating and raise our price target to $80/share, keeping our 9x 2009 EV/EBITDA target.
Source: Dahlman Rose & Company, 1 May 2008

Greece and its island archipelago are one of the world's most compelling cruise tourism destinations, with a strong and vibrant tradition in cruise and passenger shipping.
Europe will attract a 15% increase in cruise capacity in 2008, with the Mediterranean showing exceptional growth. Yet the number of cruise calls which Greece now attracts, and the benefits accruing to the Greek economy from cruise tourism, fall well short of its massive potential, and its great success as a land based tourism destination.
The latest European Cruise Council study on cruise tourism in Europe reports that of the top 16 Mediterranean ports of call, not one is in Greece.
So what needs to be done to create the right circumstances to accelerate the growth of cruise calls in Greek ports, and to achieve the diversity of itineraries and destination experiences that this region has to offer in such abundance?
This Seatrade Cruise Forum will bring together all the stake holders in the business, ports and destinations, ground handlers and port agents, ship suppliers, travel industry professionals and tourism organisations as well as senior representatives from many of the world's leading cruise brands.
The conference will hear from cruise line experts on what they want to see from Greece as a destination in terms of infrastructure, shore excursion options, pre and post packages, air lift, regulatory environment, cost structures etc, as well as Greece's own potential as a source market for cruise passengers.
The programme will also include contributions from the leading Greek institutions involved in growing the business, including the Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies (HATTA) and the Greek National Tourism Organisation on the kinds of strategies they believe are needed to grow the business.
Speaker List
Mr Mario Parodi, Manager - Marine Operations, Oceania
Steve Riester, NCL

Greece, Russia ink deal on gas pipeline / Pact to boost local role as energy hub
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin address the press after signing a deal extending the natural gas pipeline that will run through Greece before ending in Italy.
The deal was signed at a Kremlin ceremony attended by Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The proposed Russian-Italian South Stream pipeline will pump Russian gas under the Black Sea to Bulgaria before splitting into two branches.
One branch will take gas northwest to Austria, while the other will head southwest to Italy, going through Greek territory.
According to experts, the amount of natural gas being consumed in Greece over the next eight years is expected to double.
Meanwhile, Putin said both the South Stream project and a proposed Russian-backed oil pipeline through Greece could only benefit Europe.
The two leaders also discussed the 280-kilometer (175-mile) Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline that will connect the Black Sea to the Aegean as a vital alternative route, bypassing the tanker-congested Bosporus Strait.
The Greek prime minister is additionally thought to have discussed the possibility of buying Russian aircraft or weaponry during his Moscow visit.
Putin hands over his position to Dmitry Medvedev on May 7. Karamanlis also met with Medvedev yesterday.