Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 38 - 2010


Greek Shipping revenues continue to show receovery

---Revenues from Greek shipping posted a 15% growth in July on an annual basis, reaching Euro 1.44bn ($1.84bn) for the month. At the sametime, the Bank of Greece reports the other major pillar of the Greek economy, tourism, saw an annual decline of 4.8% over the 12 months, though the bank reports income from tourism in July was at Euro 1.98bn.
The July performance for tourism was a marked improvement, for in June the year-on-year decline in the sector's revenvue was 16%.
The BoG reports Greece's current account deficit shrank by 11.1% in July to Euro 1.48bn, thanks to a decline in the trade deficit and an increase in the surplus in services. In the first seven months of the year the current account deficit shrank 0.9% from the same period of 2009 to Euro 16.1bn.
Foreign direct investment recorded a net inflow of Euro 323m in July.
The Finance ministry reports Greece's budget gap was closed by 32.3% in the first eight months of the year, beating the 26.5% target for the period. The Finance ministry said the improvement came on the back of cuts in state wages and pensions, which offset slower-than-forecast increases in revenues.
The ministry reported the deficit, which does not include spending by state institutions and companies, was Euro 14.5bn, ($18.5bn) down from Euro 21.4bn, 12 months earlier, with the target for the year being an annual decline of 39.5%.
Meanwhile, the Bank of Greece has agreed with the IMF, the European Central Bank and the EC to push back stress tests to see how well lenders will standup to worsening economic conditions, from September until the end of the year. The postponement will allow for the results of a crucial Euro 2.8bn capital boost by Greece's largest bank, the National Bank of Greece, to be seen.
"Seperate stress tests, closely followed by the recent EU-wide results, are likely to contain no additional information," said the BoG. In July the Committee of European Banking Supervisors (CEBS) held tests on all major Greek banks, with ATEbank the only one to fail the grade.
The National Bank plans a rights issue, convertible bonds sale, and a reduction in its Turkish unit, Finansbank, in order to obtain a better capital cushion and be well placed for takeover opportunities.
-- Filed: 2010-09-21

Greek shipping ministry saga continues
---23 September 2010. The restoration of a standalone Greek ministry of shipping earlier in the month (see Lookout, Fairplay 9 September ) does not appear to have pacified Greek owners who were incensed by its merger with the ministry of economy and competitiveness.

PM addresses Economic Club in New York
---23 Sep 2010 Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, speaking Wednesday to powerful financiers and investors at the Economic Club in New York, presented the real picture of the state prevailing in Greece and the handling of its problems.
Papandreou stressed that the situation must be highlighted in its appropriate dimension and what precisely is taking place should be clarified, in contrast to disinformation that results frequently from certain economic analysts.
The prime minister said that six months ago all declared that they were certain that Greece would go bankrupt, adding that at present Greece is a different country, steadfastly adherred to longterm stability and growth, something that attracts the interest of investors and in this framework he invoked the recent response that the increase in the National Bank's share capital found, as well as the decision by social security funds in Norway to invest in Greek bonds.
He stressed that the return of investors is due to the Greek government proving that it means what it says, it achieves the targets it sets, and exceeds expectations, and noted that in a few months time the most ambitious and extensive reforms programme in Greece's modern history has been promoted.
The prime minister reassured that the deficit has already been reduced by 32 percent and "we shall achieve the target of 40 percent by the end of the year," adding that state expenditures decreased by 8 percent and the first stage deficit by 60 percent.
He spoke of the utilisation of the comparative advantage of solar energy, shipping, tourism and biological cultivations.
"We did not fear the political cost and we turned the economic crisis into an opportunity," he said, stressing that the latest opinion polls show increased support from public opinion compared to last April.
Papandreou further said he is determined to secure that the sacrifices of the Greek people will not be in vain and expressed certainty that the shortterm costs and the pain will be offset by longterm benefits.
He informed investors that the crisis was not the beginning of the end but a new beginning and reiterated that the public sector will utilise the real estate that it possesses which is worth 270 billion euros, an amount that corresponds to almost the entire public debt, as well as the deregulation of the energy market, while at the same time Greece offers prospects for aeolian energy that are unique in Europe. He also said that the sector of high technology also provides considerable opportunities.
Papandreou underlined Greece's geographical position which is surrounded by developing markets, while stressing that the country's importance has been recognised by China as well that has turned the port of Piraeus into a point of entry of its exports to Europe.
Lastly, the prime minister stressed that there shall be no bankruptcy and appeared convinced that soon Greece will return to high growth rates as was the case until 2008.

Thessaloniki targets cruise and logistics
--- * Thursday 23 September 2010 * by Nigel Lowry
Greek port unveils strategy to bolster its position as a cruise hub
The number of passengers fell to just 49,000 in the first seven months of this year, a 41% drop compared with traffic in the same period of 2009.
The legislative change, which was recently ratified by parliament, marks the first time non-EU flagged cruise vessels will be able to offer round cruises from Greek ports.
Thessaloniki is giving greater emphasis to logistics with an eye on further exploiting its strategic location as a gateway for several other Balkan markets as well as northern Greece.
It has also forged a new co-operation with the Hellenic Railways Organisation to improve rail connections with the port.
Container throughput rose by 5.3% to 155,167 teu in the first seven months, the port authority said.
The corporation recently reported a 7% increase in turnover for the first half of 2010.

Chartworld rejoins box-ship sector
---A Greek player has acquired four newbuildings originally booked by CMA CGM.
Chartworld Shipping has joined the list of Greek owners entering the containership market with the purchase of four newbuildings originally ordered by financially strapped CMA CGM.
The two remaining sisterships, to be named CMA CGM Africa 3 and CMA CGM Africa 4, will be delivered some time in October.
TradeWinds understands that Chartworld signed for the purchase paper work and took delivery of the containerships at the same time as the first pair was being delivered by the yard.
The ships have been taken on bareboat charters of five years by CMA CGM with a three-year option on each charter contract.
The ships were put on the sales market in May this year with asking prices of around $40m that attracted a number of bidders.
Originally, CMA CGM ordered 10 ships of this size from Hanjin in 2007 for around $690m.
Yet the decision to lease back the ships from Kollakis, plus two more that CMA CGM is expected to take delivery of in November and December, suggests that only four vessels in the series have been ditched.
CMA CGM has already allocated the four mini-panamax boxships to its Delmas West Africa to Asia Express (WAX) loop, as they were specifically designed for this trade.
The sale provides the debt ridden French box owner with some breathing space as it is in the midst of reorganising $7bn worth of debt overseen by the French court authorities.
For Chartworld, the purchase represents a re-entry into the boxship sector. The last time the Greek owner controlled a boxship was in 2001 after years of minimal exposure in the sector.
Although Chartworld is an established reefer owner, in recent years it has turned its attention to increasing its bulker exposure. The company currently controls 15 reefers and nine bulkers.
A number of Greek owners have emerged as new boxship owners over the past year, including George Economou, George Procopiou and Embiricos-controlled Aeolos Management.
By Yiota Gousas and Ian Lewis Athens and Genoa
Published: 20:15 GMT, 22 Sep 10 | updated: 20:15 GMT, 22 Sep 10

Navios Maritime Selects Triple Point Software for Freight Risk Management
This announcement follows Triple Point's recent acquisition of Softmar, the premier provider of software solutions for commercial chartering and vessel operations. Adding shipping to Triple Point's commodity trading and risk management solution set provides companies with an all-encompassing view of the enterprise. With the acquisition, Triple Point's ability to provide market-based supply chain solutions, including freight rate risk management, is unmatched.
Navios is one of the leading global brands in seaborne shipping, specializing in the worldwide carriage, trading, storage, and related logistics of international bulk cargos. As a carrier, Navios operates principally handymax and panama bulk carriers, deploying owned, chartered, and lease vessels. Navios helps business partners who own or operate vessels reduce costs and manage risk by providing vessel, cargo, and fuel hedging strategies.
"In an increasingly volatile marketplace, cost containment and risk management are major priorities for vessel owners and operators," said Michael Larsen, managing director, chartering and vessel operations, Triple Point. "Triple Point provides its customers with a comprehensive solution suite for commercial vessel operations and freight risk management that reduces exposure to adverse trends and volatility and helps control shipping and fuel costs. We're pleased to welcome a customer of Navios' caliber to our shipping portfolio."
21 September 2010

Thomas Miller strengthens Greece operations
Daniel Evans succeeds Nigel Brooks as Regional Director. Nigel will be leaving Thomas Miller after more than 20 years with the firm.
Thomas Miller has a team of 26 claims handlers and underwriters in Piraeus and London supporting Greek Members in both clubs. Rod Lingard has headed the Thomas Miller Hellas operation since 2009 while his predecessor, Philip Clacy, leads the London-based Syndicate 2, supporting Greek controlled tonnage whose Members prefer to manage their insurance affairs in London.
For further information:
Nick Whitear
Thomas Miller P&I Ltd
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7283 4646