Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 22 - 2008
The Posidonia Cup
Friday 30 May 2008, Faliron Bay - Piraeus
The Posidonia Shipsoccer Tournament
Saturday, 31 May 2008, Karaiskaki Stadium, Neo Faliro
The Posidonia Exhibition
Tuesday, 3 June to Friday, 6 June 2008, Hellenikon Exhibition Centre
Tuesday 3 June 10:30 - 19:00
Wednesday 4 June 10:30 - 19:00
Thursday 5 June 10:30 - 19:00
Friday 6 June 10:30 - 17:00
Admission to the exhibition is free to all those involved in the maritime industry. To receive your visitors pass please register on-line in advance or register at the Exhibition entrance.
More than 16,000 visitors expected to attend Posidonia
The last exhibition attracted 1,600 exhibiting companies from 78 countries with exhibited products and services covering every aspect of the shipping industry. This year's exhibition is expected to be even bigger with additional services and products and exhibitors from the Central American Republic of Honduras, Iceland, Luxemburg and Mongolia making their Posidonia debut and strong exhibitor participation from Asia and the Far East.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 29 May 2008
Source: Thursday, 29 May 2008, http://www.bymnews.com/news/newsDetails.php?id=27473
Greek Shipping: Then and now
---The past 20 years have seen some dramatic changes in Greek shipping.
When Captain Panayiotis Tsakos, one of Greece's most prominent shipowners, first went to sea, he did so as an unpaid supernumerary who thought he was lucky if there was a bale of hay to sleep on.
His son, Nikolas, who heads up New York-listed Tsakos Energy Navigation (TEN), came into the business after graduating from Columbia University in New York with a degree in economics and political science. He later gained a master's degree in shipping, trade and finance from London's City University.
The changes that have taken place in Greek shipping over the past two decades may not be quite so dramatic but they have seen an industry that was viewed with suspicion by the outside world evolve into a modern and vital sector that powers the international sale-and-purchase (S&P) market and takes the lead in tonnage, newbuildings, finance and - not least - publicity.
To start from the basics, in the last 20 years, the Greek-controlled fleet has almost doubled in the number of vessels and more than tripled in dwt. It grew from 2,487 ships of 85 million dwt in March 1988 to 4,173 ships of 261 million dwt in February this year, according to figures provided by the Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee (GSCC).
Available data for the fleet-age profile only goes back to 1995. The average age of all ships at that time was 19.1 years. This year it stands at 12.5 years.
As far as newbuildings go, leading Piraeus newbuilding consultant George Banos of brokerage George Moundreas says his statistics do not go back 20 years but his experience does.
"The modern story of Greek owners starts from 1993. Before that, we had practically no orders at all," said Banos.
In the 1970s and even earlier, Greek owners had placed orders but in the extended crisis of the 1980s, almost nothing was booked.
"The market improved drastically from March 1987 but still the owners in Greece didn't move and we had to spend another seven years idle," said Banos.
The broker started keeping annual statistics from 1998, when they show that Greeks ordered a total of 70 vessels of 3.8 million dwt. In 2007, they invested an astounding $31.9bn, booking 556 ships of 42.8 million dwt.
Last year's peak has not so far been reflected in the figures for the first four months of this year, which stand at a total of just 73 ships booked in the period.
Up until 2004, the majority of money financing the expanding Greek-controlled fleet came from banks.
Ted Petropoulos, head of Athens-based research company Petrofin, estimates that in 1987, the total loan volume stood at just around $8bn.
"In 1987, the sentiment for shipping was profoundly negative," Petropoulos added. The industry was emerging from the longest and deepest recession in living memory, which had resulted in numerous owner failures and a considerable number of bad loans for banks, he points out.
"The international public perception toward the Greek shipping industry was that it constituted a second-class force running substandard vessels and often defaulting on its obligations," he said.
How things have changed.
Since 2001, Petrofin has conducted annual research on bank finance to the industry and its end-of-2007 statistics showed a total portfolio of $66.9bn provided by 41 banks to finance Greek owners. Of that, $45.4bn was drawn-down loans and $21.6bn committed funds that had not yet been drawn.
Petrofin also estimated that some 77% of the huge Greek orderbook had already been financed.
The analyst was able to comment that irrespective of the subprime and international banking crisis, it was expected that the Greek fleet would continue to modernise and grow and that total shipping-finance loans to Greek owners would continue their upward trend unabated.
An element not taken into consideration in Petrofin's research is the impressive amount of money that has been raised through initial public offerings (IPOs) and follow-on or secondary offerings by Greek companies in the stock markets in both the US and UK.
Figures provided by Dealogic show that from 2000 up to the end of April this year, Greek-led companies had pulled in a total of over $5.7bn from the US markets alone (see page 42). If US companies headed up by principals of Greek origin are included, the total swells by about a further $1bn.
As of last month, 24 Greek-led companies are listed on the US and London markets with others preparing to do so. In mid-May, a regulatory filing revealed that the Hajioannou family's Safe Bulkers hopes to raise between $200m and $220m from an IPO - the first conventional shipping IPO since last August. This shift to public markets to raise equity has allowed companies to rapidly develop larger fleets and, as some owners claim, given them a solid position from which to face consolidation.
Closer to home, the Athens Stock Exchange is in the process of once again tweaking its regulations to encourage ocean-going shipping companies to float. To date, only passenger-shipping companies are listed in the Greek capital but now some of the more stringent requirements for other companies are expected to be removed. If all goes as mooted, shortsea owners are waiting eagerly in the wings to raise money from the market for fleet renewal. The president of the Mediterranean Cargo Vessels Shipowners' Union, Nikos Varvates, comments that Mediterranean vessels in particular need renewal as they have an average age of 30 years.
"For some time we have been trying to find ways to make this renewal and get back into the game," he said.
Meanwhile, not only the surge toward the public markets but also increased regulatory requirements and a general streamlining have contributed to the growing corporatisation of Greek shipping companies (see page 48).
Two decades ago, the habit of the late, great Aristotle Onassis of writing all his business dealings on small scraps of paper would have been considered quite acceptable by many Greek owners who today are using ship-to-shore applications and keeping track of every aspect of their businesses.
Of course, among the many changes that have taken place in Greek shipping in the past 20 years are those affecting Piraeus itself. The city where telephone communications once called for the patience of a saint is today equipped to deal with the challenges of fast broadband connections and other telecommunications requirements.
As Greek shipowners and their fleets have grown, so have the services available to them on their own turf. In addition to banks already mentioned, international law firms have opened Piraeus offices, as have classification societies, protection-and-indemnity (P&I) clubs and even shipbuilders.
Not unexpectedly, a phenomenon of modern Greek shipping is the emergence of companies run by the children of the previous generation of owners. While some are content to play a role within the structure of the family company, others have branched out entirely on their own.
To come full circle, Captain Tsakos continues to rule family-owned Tsakos Shipping & Trading but publicly listed TEN is headed by Nikolas, who has taken on a different role.
Far too many new-generation owners and companies have sprung up to mention all of them but they include Harry Vafias, who launched Stealth Maritime and later Nasdaq-listed Stealthgas separate to his family's Brave Maritime. Siblings Hariklia, Natalia and George Moundreas are involved with NGM Energy - as opposed to the long-term partnership of their father, Nicholas, in Good Faith Shipping.
Ismini Panayiotides has stayed within the framework of father Gabriel's companies, Excel Maritime Carriers and Maryville. But her brother, Alexandros, who even spells his surname differently from his father, has branched out elsewhere.
One example of a shipping family that has chosen to split is the Dalacouras family. Father George Dalacouras founded Dalex Shipping in 1968. In 2004, his eldest son, Dimitris, set up his own business, Conbulk, in partnership with George Bamiotis. Middle son Vassilis is said to be in line to take over the family business at some point, while the youngest, Michalis, is currently working at Dalex but may later also break away.
"We were a small to medium-size Greek shipping company with three brothers," Dimitris said. Historically speaking, a number of siblings have tended either to end up quarrelling or destroying the company they take over, he says.
Had Dalex been a 100-ship company with a corporate structure, his decision might have been otherwise, he says. But having chosen to set up outside Dalex, Dalacouras adds that he has the full support of the family in his choice.
The majority of the new generation in Greek shipping has only seen the industry in relatively favourable years and the wish is often expressed that they will never have to experience dark days like those of the 1980s.
But even should the market fall, Greek shipping as a whole has come a long way from where it was two decades ago.
Gillian Whittaker Athens, published: 29 May 2008
The Greek rise and rise
---The bulk chemicals market typifies the Hellenic knack of making a success of an unlikely business concept in the face of the derision of others
Seachem Tankers was a model, symbolising the well-honed Greek knack of overcoming obstacles. George Livanos saw the shipment of chemicals by sea in bulk as just another niche market.
In 1990, Livanos controlled a fleet of 4.8M dwt, made up of tankers, bulk carriers and passenger ships. During 1987, the company took delivery of seven IMO Chemical Class 2 product carriers.
In 1990, it put them into a pool based in Monaco, calling it Seachem Tankers. Its CEO was Nick Fistes, who is today chairman of Intertanko and CEO of Newfront Shipping.
Its competitors poured scorn on the project. Their sales teams told shippers that chemicals should be carried only in northern European-controlled tankers. It was the only safe way of doing it, and anyway what did the Greeks know about it? They predicted an early demise for Seachem.
But, as if in riposte and to underline his commitment to the trade, Livanos invested many millions of dollars in fitting six stainless-steel deck tanks to each of his ships to augment the existing coated tank capacity. And the venture wrongfooted the sceptics.
Despite being criticised by competitors, it gained market share. By the time Odfjell offered a merger in 2000, Seachem had 17 chemical tankers, including eight delivering from Polish shipbuilder Stoeznia Szezecinska.
A moral victory for the Greeks
So it became a moral victory for the Greeks and another symbol of the rise of Greek shipping.
Without the Anangel suffix, the fleet would not have been quite so conspicuous. But if one idly leafs through the fleet list, nearly 30 Cape and 10 Panamax bulkers are operated by Cetragpa. There are also seven Capes on order plus two Panamaxes.
And the future picture could be rosy as well. This rather depends on whether the dry bulk and tanker markets prosper, as they have done in recent weeks.
Greek owners have close to 900 new ships on order, amounting to more than 71.5M dwt. In second place are German owners with 52.5M dwt.
Tankers the big winners
But where are the traditional Greek skills? They used to be concentrated on small dry cargo ships. But the orderbook is empty of such vessels under Greek domicile.
Passenger ships do not appear much, either, with just two on order. And multipurpose ships and reefers combined make up just six ships. No, the big winners in the shipbuilding scene are the constructors of tankers, with 385 on order for Greek owners. And 423 bulk carriers also feature. Add to that nearly 40 ro-ros and 40 container ships and the immediate thing that springs to mind is the problem of over-tonnaging.
Then we have China, determined eventually to rule the world shipbuilding roost. Sixty greenfield yards pose the problem of a lack of skilled yard workers. Where will they come from?
Then there is a shortage of milling machines for manufacturing crankshafts, without which there will be no new engines. Also, cranes and winches can also be slow in arriving at yards.
And then with 4.3 new ships per day due to be delivered in the next 30 months and a senior office taking 10 years to train, where will the crews come from? The reality is that many new ships littering the orderbooks might never reach the sea. Yes, they have IMO numbers and refund guarantees, but neither is relevant.
How green are my shipyards
Shipyards Japan South Korea China
Yards with deliveries in 2008 34 18 69
Yards with current orders 34 25 129
Greece at a glance
Population: 10,722,816 (2008 est)
GDP (at official rate): $356.3Bn
GDP per capita: $30,500
GDP growth: 3.7%
Imports (fob): $79.9Bn
Import commodities: Machinery, transport equipment, fuels, chemicals
Exports (fob): $25.8Bn
Export commodities: Food and beverages, manufactured goods, petroleum products, chemicals, textiles
Unemployment rate: 8.4%
Industries: Tourism, food and tobacco processing, textiles, chemicals, metal products, mining, petroleum
All figures 2007 estimates unless indicated. Source: The World Factbook
Minister: Greek shipping industry a global leader
---ATHENS, May 28 (Xinhua) -- The Greek shipping industry accounts for 20 percent of cargo shipments worldwide, Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Wednesday.
He said foreign exchange inflows from shipping surpassed 4.8 billion euros (7.57 billion U.S. dollars) in the first quarter of 2008, up from 3.7 billion euros (5.84 billion dollars) last year, for an increase of 32 percent.
Addressing a seminar on "Shipping: Capital new forms of funding" in Athens, the minister said that Greek shipping industry is currently enjoying one of its most productive periods of its history.
The government has set a top priority to attracting shipping companies into the country and noted that the government would do everything in its power to avoid any consequences from community directives on capital tax.
Source: www.chinaview.cn 2008-05-29 04:53:44
Voulgarakis, Kapralos Invites Shippers to Athens Bourse
Greek shipping accounts for 17 pct of the world fleet, 20 pct of the bulk ship fleet and 23 pct of tanker fleet worldwide, said the Greek minister who added that both the stock market and the Merchant Marine ministry have jointly created the necessary conditions for attracting ocean-shipping companies in the market. The Greek minister added that the first messages of this procedure were positive and expressed his optimism that Greek-interest shipping companies based in London, UK, would relocate to Greece.
Source: 29/05/2008, http://www.greekinsight.com/?conID=2619&PHPSESSID=4db2783268665151d86b78cec60bca08#
Oil price increase characteristic of bubbles, says Soros
---INTERNATIONAL. The record price of oil is a bubble being driven by market speculators that will only burst when the UK and US fall into recession, George Soros has reportedly said.
In an interview with the London Telegraph, Soros stressed that speculators are equally to blame for the skyrocketing prices in the crude market as much as the weak dollar, declining Middle East oil supply, and China's increasing demand for crude oil
George Soros, a legendary hedge fund investor, blamed the spike in oil prices, which peaked at US$135 US a barrel for the first time last week, on investors betting that the cost of oil will continue to rise.
According to the newspaper, Soros described the price increase as having a "Parabolic shape" which, he explained is 'characteristic of bubbles,'. The billionaire investor added that the oil bubble "will not burst until the US and Britain are both in recession".
The British Chambers of Commerce last week cautioned that rocketing oil prices were pushing companies to the "absolute edge" amid speculation that the relentless increases could soon see oil hit US$200 a barrel.
Oil is now more than a third more expensive than at the start of the year and crude prices have doubled over the past months.
"This is going to be compounded by the fact that the financial industry weighs more heavily on the economy than in other countries, because London is the center of the global financial system, and you have the unfortunate condition that the Bank of England is bound into inflation targeting, and is not in a position to lower interest rates until you have an economic slowdown," the Daily Telegraph quoted the billionaire.
Rising global demand from emerging Asian giants India and China has, together with the slump in the US dollar, until now been thought largely responsible for the dramatic increases in the cost of crude.
He added: "You can also anticipate that (the bubble) will eventually correct, but that is unlikely to happen before the recession actually reduces the demand."
Source: http://www.bi-me.com/main.php?id=20618&t=1&c=34&cg=4, BI-ME and media reports , Author: BI-ME staff, Posted: 26-05-2008
How to man 9,000 newbuildings in the coming years
There is a degree of uncertainty concerning a percentage of the newbuildings, as Clarkson expects that around 10 to 15 per cent of the contracts have been signed with shipyards that hardly exists and furthermore have not secured delivery of the equipment needed to make a ship out of some steel plates.
Sakellis quits in fuel price row
---Nigel Lowry, Athens - Thursday 29 May 2008
Attica said that after nearly seven years operating the route, the last Superfast sailing on its Rosyth to Zeebrugge service will be on September 13.
Group chief financial officer Yannis Criticos said that the operation had been losing money because of high fuel bills and the strength of the Euro against the UK currency.
Last Monday, in an announcement to the Greek travelling public, Blue Star pledged that it will refrain from any fare increases during the peak summer season, in spite of the problem of rapidly increasing fuel prices.
Mr Sakellis remains a member of the board and a new chairman is expected to be elected tomorrow.
This could not be confirmed with competition inspectors last night.
He said that individual companies had not yet been visited.
In the North Sea, Blue Star 1 carried 13,135 passengers, 5,400 private vehicles and 5,166 trucks on the Rosyth service.
The vessel will be redeployed either in the Adriatic or Aegean network of Blue Star and the switch is unlikely to lead to job cuts. Attica has said that it is having discussions with the Scottish government and Forth Ports to assist in any transition.
Hellenic National Advisory Committee considers key shipping issues
---Thursday, 29 May 2008
Aegean Bulk Co Inc. gets the first Green Award Dry Bulk Certificate
---For the first time in its 14 year existence, Green Award has a dry bulk carrier on its list of certified ships. In recognition of this milestone Green Award will hand over the first certificate in an official ceremony during the Posidonia Exhibition in Athens in June.
Ship #1 is M/V AFOVOS (74.306 DWT), managed by the Athens based company Aegean Bulk Co Inc. The management and the crew of M/V AFOVOS are very proud of the ship and the crew having met the stringent Green Award requirements related to quality, safety, environment, management and technical aspects.
Green Award certification was one of the steps to reach the strategic goal because Aegean Bulk believes that the benefits that result from having Green Award-certified ships go well beyond reductions in port dues and other services charges.
Aegean Bulk will be presented with the special Green Award certificate in a ceremony during the Posidonia Exhibition at the stand of DNV (#105) on June 4th, at 14:30. M/V AFOVOS is classed by Det Norske Veritas (DNV), a global provider of services for managing risk and an independent foundation with the objective of safeguarding life, property and the environment.
Capt. Dimitrios Mattheou, General Manager, will accept the certificate on behalf of Aegean Bulk.
Source: Press release, Green Award Foundation <firstname.lastname@example.org>, 29 May 2008
Gard strengthens Greek team
---Monday, 19th May, 2008
Gard announced today that Lily Karaiscos will be joining the Group as a Special Advisor, with particular focus on the development of its business in Greece and reporting to Bjornar Andresen, Senior Vice President Marine & Energy. Ms Karaiscos has been working with Gard for the last 2 years as a consultant and has been instrumental in the growth in its Greek portfolio.
Notes to Editors
Gard is a shipowner controlled, diversified provider of P&I, marine and energy insurance products. As of the 20 August, 2007 annual group level written premium income was USD 531 million and total assets USD 1.84 billion.
The P&I division has an entered tonnage in excess of 150 million gt, and gross written premium in the 2006 policy year of USD 347 million.
The marine division has 6,200 entered vessels and a gross written premium income of USD 195 million in 2006.
EMMA's expertise aims to be engrained in Greek legal system
---Nine Piraeus-based lawyers and insurance executives have launched a mediation association to promote and conduct mediation in Greece and the wider Eastern Mediterranean. Using the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) technique with members of the Eastern Mediterranean Mediation Association (EMMA), the association opens the way to resolving disputes quickly and inexpensively.
The association believes mediation can mend fences and improve relations between disputing parties. Mediation enables parties to resume, or sometimes to begin, negotiations. EMMA says the ADR technique is now internationally recognised as an effective means of resolving disputes.
Noting disputes are "always bad news for a company", the EMMA group are individual accredited mediators based in Greece who bring "considerable and varied experience to commercial disputes". They are drawn from practising English and Greek lawyers, the insurance industry and general commerce.
Martin Hall Clyde & Co (Greece) said: "There is no reason why Piraeus, or Athens, should not become a leader in terms of establishing a mediation centre particularly when it comes to shipping, although it is not exclusive to shipping." Hall said the "expertise is here and, of course, a substantial proportion of the world's shipping is here. It is also an area that once established, hopefully, can become engrained in the Greek legal system and ease the burden on the courts".
-- Filed: 2008-05-27
Spyros Vlassopoulos joins Hellespont's Piraeus-based chartering division
---THE Hellespont Group has strengthened its management team by promoting Spyros Vlassopoulos, formerly managing director of Hellespont Hammonia GmbH & Co to be director responsible for chartering and sale & purchase at Hellespont's Piraeus-based chartering division.
Captain Matthias Imrecke has been appointed to take over as managing director of Hellespont's Hamburg-based fleet management and safety division.
Source: The Maritime Advocate online--Issue 348, May 26th, 2008
Panos C. Vlahos establish "Exantas Shipping Services Ltd."
---After 6 years of a successful period with Bulkers Shipbroking Ltd, Mr. Panos C. Vlahos has decided to establish his own company under the name of "Exantas Shipping Services Ltd".
For more detail please visit our web site: www.exantas-shipping.gr
Source: press release