Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 20 - 2008


Hellenic Shipping industry remains on top of the world

Saturday, 17 May 2008
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News

Friday, 16 May 2008
IN his introduction to his two organisations' joint annual International Chamber of Shipping (ICS)/ International Shipping Federation (ISF) Chairman/President Spyros M Polemis siunds a cautionary note.
He adds: "The current economic climate may be expected to give renewed emphasis to keeping operating costs in check, not least the significantly increased price of bunker supplies and the high wages paid for quality crew, for whom the market is extremely tight."

Shipping mounts a country-wide recruitment drive
---The Marine and Island Policy ministry, shipowners, seafarers and the government's vocational guidance institute have just completed a combined country-wide effort to promote to young people a career in shipping. Between March 13 and May 9 representatives of the four organisations toured Greece speaking about shipping to thousands of students and their parents at dozens of schools in six major port cities.
Shipowner Matheos D Los said the basic strategy aim is to man Greek ships with Greek officers and for this to happen the public, especially the young people, must have the correct career advice and perception of the shipping industry. The general secretary of the Union of Greek Shipowners, (UGS) said students, considering a career, should be informed about the opportunities and the realities of one in the maritime sector.
He said young people and their parents should be told about life on board a ship and that oceangoing Greek ships are modern with an average age of 12 years, much below the world average. They should be aware of the benefits, like pay, rapid promotion, where advancement can be achieved in half the time of shore based industries where there is unemployment.
Los noted that there are over 1,000 ships on order for Greek owners, which immediately opened at least 5,000 employment positions.
During the visits to Alexandroupolis, Igoumenitsa, Kalamata, Patras, Thessaloniki and Volos, shipping was presented to students, teachers and the parents of students as a national industry and the only one recognised worldwide for its size and quality. Life in the maritime academies was also outlined.
John Tzoannos, ministry general secretary, said the international standing of Greek shipping was explained and "we invited young people to join a profession which is passed down by Greek ancestors and has a tradition which must be continued".
Captain George Vlachos, president of the Masters and Mates Union (Pepen), said "Greek officers have shipping in their hearts" and this "has been the case for thousands of years and must continue to be". Further, shipping not only pays young people high salaries at a young age, the industry is also "very important to Greece's economy".
Advisor to the educational institute, Pavlos Marantos said that "in today's Greece, where mediocrity prevails, some Greeks have the opportunity to get highly rewarded".
-- Filed: 2008-05-14

Greeks book handysizes worth $444m at Daesun
---Boxship and chemical-tanker specialist Daesun Shipbuilding&Engineering of South Korea has secured orders for up to 12 single-skin handysize bulkers worth more than $444m from three Greek shipping companies.
Sources familiar with the yard say the orders are for seven firm 34,000-dwt vessels and five options.
TradeWinds reported in March that one of the Greek trio, Perosea Shipping, was in the process of booking a series of ships at Daesun. It ordered three firm ships and holds two options.
Perosea currently operates just one bulker, the 52,000-dwt Eagle (built 1985), but almost all of a series of seven 13,000-dwt chemical tankers have been delivered to the company from 21st Century Shipbuilding.
Captain Nikolaos Kastis of Leros Management confirms it has signed up for two firm ships and two options in its first-ever newbuilding order. They are slated for delivery in 2011, he adds, but declines to reveal the price.
Leros currently controls five handysize and handymax bulkers built between 1976 and 1985.
Bright Navigation's order also marks its newbuilding debut. The company has signed for two firm vessels and one option.
Newbuilding sources say the 34,000-dwt bulkers are costing more than $37m each with the firm vessels slated for delivery between 2010 and early 2011.
By Irene Ang and Gillian Whittaker , Singapore and Athens
published: 16 May 2008

Zoullas says 40% of Asian yard deliveries at risk
--Rajesh Joshi and Michelle Wiese Bockmann - Friday 16 May 2008
Eagle Bulk has invested more than $1.3bn to build 35 bulkers.
LISTED bulk carrier Eagle Bulk Shipping has declined to provide further information about the 100 bulk carrier newbuildings that its chairman and chief executive said had been cancelled or delayed in Chinese and South Korean shipyards this year.
Sophocles Zoullas said he based his estimates on a late-April tour of Asian shipyards.
He is the among the first shipowners known to have publicly placed a figure on cancellation numbers, based on first hand talks with yards.
Details of only a handful of cancellations have been released by shipyards to the market this year.
New York-based analysts have greeted such unsubstantiated estimates with robust scepticism.
The figures outpace Urs Dur of Lazard Capital Markets and Omar Nokta of Dahlman Rose, who surmise that 9%-10% of dry bulk orders would be delayed.
Eagle Bulk Shipping has invested more than $1.3bn to build 35 bulk carriers, including 30 in China, and some at newer yards perceived most at risk.
Most will be delivered from 2009, just as analysts fear a bulk carrier tonnage oversupply will drag down chartering rates.
Lack of credit, a paucity of engines, the inexperience of Chinese greenfield yards and skilled labour shortfalls have all been cited as reaons why fewer ships will be delivered.
Mr Zoullas expected ships ordered by other owners at younger or greenfield yards to be delayed or cancelled, but not his own.
The first newbuilding is expected to be delivered later this year. Even the engines on the rest of the series are all ordered and secured in advance and Eagle Bulk is very happy with the yard, Mr Zoullas said.
He said the important trick for any owner interested in building in China is to conduct good due diligence.

Homegrown P&I Club Opens In Greece
---THE LONG gestation period of the first protection-and-indemnity (P&I) club targeting Greek shipowners seems to be over.
The Hellenic Mutual P&I and War Risks Association is to be launched a week ahead of the big Posidonia shipping exhibition in Piraeus.
Invitations to the inauguration are being issued by club chairman Nick Velliades of Aigaion Insurance.
The start-up club appears to have a board of directors already, although there is little information about who the members will be.
Many leading Greek shipowners have close connections with the established clubs of the International Group P&I cartel, so it looks as if the market for the new Hellenic Club will be smaller fleets.
So far no information is available about the extent of cover the new Hellenic Club will offer, but it is unlikely to run to the multibillion-dollar figure of the group clubs.
Smaller owners may, however, consider lower limits not to be a problem.
There has been interest in establishing a Greek P&I club for a long time, but the concept has always foundered on the strong connection clubs such as the West of England, London and UK mutuals have with Greek owners, who are often also club directors.
Skuld and the Swedish Club have created relationships in the Greek market also, while the American Club has built a significant position in recent years.
A Hellenic hull club was established 14 years ago and a well-supported Hellenic war-risks club is run by Thomas Miller, the managers of the UK Club.
Source: Posted: 12th May 2008 on

My Big Fat Greek Shipper
---By Christopher Barker May 16, 2008
Investors dipping into shipping stocks for the first time might feel like an overwhelmed fiancee being dragged before an eccentric family for a crash course in an unfamiliar culture. Fools looking to shippers as an ancillary play on the global commodities boom, may discover quite a learning curve to this sector's due diligence process.
While DryShips (Nasdaq: DRYS) is attracting far more attention from investors, Diana Shipping (NYSE: DSX) offers plenty of attributes to write home about, particularly an 8%-plus annualized dividend. In the latest quarter, Diana brought home the bacon with a 149% increase in net earnings year over year. That $53.2 million result was also a 46% sequential improvement on the fourth quarter.
Rates continue to rise at an impressive clip throughout the shipping industry, and Diana is no exception. The average daily charter rate per ship increased 66% from the year prior, to $45,191. Meanwhile, 95%-97% of revenue due for remaining operating days in 2008 has already been collected, and charter commitments continue to spread further into the future. In fact, one Capesize vessel that's under construction and not expected to launch until 2010 has already been chartered through 2015. This is a very strong indicator of the tightness in global supply of bulk carriers.
Another commodity in tight supply worldwide right now is credit, and recent reports indicate that many shipping companies with vessels on order are cancelling orders because of difficulties with financing. As banks increase rates and required deposits while shortening loan terms, many shippers are feeling the credit crunch very directly. With an estimated 10%-30% reduction of ship orders amid rising demand, charter rates should experience further upward pressure as a result.
For Fools careful to locate shippers with the best balance sheets, loan facilities, or other advantages (like prebooking), this emerging bottleneck in ship supplies can present a bulky investment opportunity. Iron ore companies like Vale (NYSE: RIO) and producers of multiple bulk products like BHP Billiton (NYSE: BHP) will continue to need shippers to bring their products to market, and Diana Shipping is happy to oblige.

Safe Bulkers, Inc. Announces Filing of Registration Statement for Initial Public Offering
---ATHENS, GREECE--(Marketwire - May 16, 2008) - Safe Bulkers, Inc. ("Safe Bulkers") announced today that it has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission in anticipation of a planned initial public offering of its common stock.
Safe Bulkers is an international provider of marine drybulk transportation services, transporting bulk cargoes, such as grain, iron ore and coal, along worldwide shipping routes for some of the world's largest users of marine drybulk transportation services.
The initial public offering will include approximately 10,000,000 shares of common stock. The offering may increase to approximately 11,500,000 shares of common stock if the underwriters exercise in full their over-allotment option. The shares are being offered by Vorini Holdings Inc. which will own approximately 80% of the common stock following the offering and will receive all of the proceeds. Safe Bulkers plans to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "SB."
The offering will be book-run by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated ("Merrill Lynch") and Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC ("Credit Suisse"). Co-managers of the offering are Jefferies & Company, Inc., Dahlman Rose & Company, LLC, Poten Capital Services LLC and DnB NOR Markets, Inc.
A copy of the prospectus relating to these securities may be obtained when available from Merrill Lynch, 4 World Financial Center, New York, NY 10080 or Credit Suisse, Eleven Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10010.
A registration statement relating to these securities has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission but has not yet become effective. These securities may not be sold nor may offers to buy be accepted prior to the time that the registration statement becomes effective.
This release shall not constitute an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation, or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction.
The statements in this press release that are not historical facts may be forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause the outcome to be materially different.
Company Contact: Polys Hajioannou, Chief Executive Officer, Safe Bulkers, Inc., Athens, Greece, Telephone:(+30) 210-895 7070

Samskip adds Greece to its pan-European multimodal network
Paul J Swaak, Director Strategic Development for Samskip Multimodal Container Logistics explained that Samskip had been looking closely at Greece since early 2006 but only now did the company feel the time was right:
The latter is, according to Mr Swaak, crucial if one is to offer a sustainable and attractive product:
Mr Swaak is sure that Samskip MCL has found a reliable partner in Carel Ltd:
Mr Swaak added:

Athens: World Shipping Congress
---The Financial Times and Action Global Communications Hellas are organizing the 1st World Shipping Congress at the Athens Concert Hall on June 4.
It is the first time that the Financial Times is organizing a congress in Greece and the selection of the topic ?Charting the Course of World Shipping, Trade & Finance? is important for Greek shipping.
The one-day event will also include the topics: Developments in the World Economy and Sea Trade, Strategies for success in the Dry and Wet markets and Ship Financing: Risks and Profits.

Major Greek unions strike to protest privatization
WSWS : News & Analysis : Europe
By Tim Tower, 17 May 2008
In the center of downtown Athens, workers staged a march from the Omonia Plaza Metro station to Sindagma Square opposite the national parliament building in the city center.
Police fired tear gas to prevent strikers from entering the headquarters of the National Bank of Greece. There were no reported injuries or arrests.
On the same day, 2,000 students staged a separate demonstration and launched sit-ins at 10 universities.
Olympic Airlines, the government carrier, was compelled to cancel 40 flights to and from Athens, and to reschedule an additional 16 international and domestic flights because of work stoppages by pilots and air traffic controllers. Aegean Airlines cancelled an additional 28 flights.
The conservative New Democracy government is simultaneously moving to sell the rights to manage container terminals at the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki. Giant firms Cosco and Hutchinson from China and Dubai World Ports from the United Arab Emirates are competing for the contract, which would secure control of the container operations at the two ports for 30 years.
The Athens News reported that a vote against the Telekom deal in parliament could bring down the government and precipitate a general election. The paper also reported that although Alogoskoufis denied reports that the government was moving to liquidate all of its holdings in OTE, many observers believed that to be the case.
Despite holding a mere one seat majority in parliament, the government is pushing ahead with plans for aggressive privatizations and massive cuts in government pension plans.