Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 01 - 2010


Greek investors push all barriers in 2010 s&p market

---As the shipping market began showing signs of recovery, the underlying financial strength of Greek owners allowed them to dominate the s&p market in 2010 spending an average $28.62m on 325 ships, almost 30% more on average on the 221 ships acquired in 2009. According to shipbroker, N Cotzias Shipping, Greek operators spent more than twice as much on secondhand ships last year as their closest rivals, the Chinese.
Greeks splashed out $9.3bn to build up their fleets in 2010, way ahead of the $3.9bn invested by Chinese owners, says the Akti Miaouli-based shipbroker. In the process they regained their position as the biggest players at the s&p table from the Chinese.
Looking back on 2010, N Cotzias' latest report reveals the 325 ships purchased by Greek owners was 90 more than the 235 purchased by the Chinese. In 2010 Greek owners invested $9.3bn in secondhand ships of a total 22.8m dwt and accounted for 23% of all ships traded in the s&p ring, when Cotzias says 1,414 ships changed hands all told for a cost of $30.9bn. Thus Greek ownerships accounted for over 30% of funds committed to secondhand purchases.
In 2009, Greek owners invested $4.3bn buying 221 vessels, while their Chinese counterparts spent $4.1bn on 302 vessels. Cotzias' data shows 1,308 ships changed hands in 2009.
While bulk carriers were the top item, for shipowners in 2010 the number changing hands fell from 664 to 607, while the number of tankers sold increased from 260 to 394 year-on-year, reports the broker. A total of 169 container ships were traded in 2010, up from 112 the previous year.
In 2009, the Chinese were hungry for drybulk ships and pushed Greek owners into second, but the $5.87bn spent by Greeks on 243 drycargo ships eclipsed Chinese owners' $3.61bn investment in 205 dry-units that had them comfortably clear of third placed Turkey, Cotzias says. Greeks splashed $3.47bn on 82 energy ships of a total 10.43m dwt, also making them the biggest dealer in this sector, accounting for just under 28% of the total investment and 29.4% of the dwt. US operators were second heaviest investors in energy ships in 2010, investing $3.32bn on just 30 ships, says Cotzias, an average of $110m a ship, far more than the $42.32m spent by Greeks on average each purchase, while Norwegian owners acquired 34 tankers, but for a rather modest investment of $1.04bn.
Cotzias also notes the nationality of the buyers of some 112 ships -- 81 bulkers and 31 tankers -- in the past 12 months have remained unidentified. This group invested $1.85bn -- $1.244bn on bulkers and $628m on tankers.
-- Filed: 2011-01-04

New outfits born in Piraeus but 2011 will be more about fleet dynamics
---The new year will see a number of new companies operating out of Piraeus as Greek owners continue to expand.
An estimated 15 independent new management entities are among the 30 or so new entries listed in the latest Greek Shipping Directory.
A detailed study of ownership stakes has yet to emerge but 2011 has begun with two relative outsiders making their debut as independent owners.
Grigoris Papadopoulos and his nephew, George Lambrakis, have launched their new company, PL Shipping. They took delivery of the 45,000-dwt bulker Marvelette (ex-Sovi R, built 1998) last month after paying Roussos Shipping of Greece a reported $25.3m.
Papadopoulos and Lambrakis have been owners for over three years but have had their assets under management with Nicholas Papalios-led Primal Shipmanagement. They own another five bulkers of which only one has been folded into the new outfit, the 28,000-dwt Commodore (built 1997).
Prior to getting into shipowning, the family built up its fortune through its investment in a major supermarket chain in Greece called Sklavenitis.
Athanasios Kyratsous is also making his debut as an independent owner through new company Northstar Maritime, with the 74,000-dwt bulker Reborn (ex-Spring Fortune, built 1999), for which it paid a reported $27m.
Meanwhile, some of the other new companies are spin-off affiliates of well-established shipowning names in Piraeus.
John Rigos Marine Enterprises has launched Valerie Shipmanagement with the 37,000-dwt bulker Marina K (built 2010). The owner took delivery of the vessel in August from Jiangsu Eastern Heavy of China.
Brothers Dimitris and George Stephanou have launched a sister company to bulker owner Bright Navigation. Called Seagate Navigation, it manages two 10-year-old, 70,000-dwt bulkers.
The majority of the new entities are small owners listing one ship, mostly older tankers active in the coastal Mediterranean trades.
Market analyst Ted Petropoulos of Petrofin, which publishes a study on ownership in Piraeus in March each year, says Greek owners continue to rejuvenate their presence with new blood and the break-up of existing groups. This year, he says, will be no exception.
What will be interesting in 2011, however, will be more to do with changes in fleet make-up in Piraeus rather than the actual number of companies, according to Petrofin.
If charter rates do not increase the analyst reckons owners will adjust their fleets accordingly. They will slow down on newbuilding orders, cancel and postpone deliveries and scrap ships to counter the oversupply threat posed by the large orderbook especially in the dry sector.
By Yiota Gousas Athens
Published: 23:01 GMT, 06 Jan 11 | updated: 21:09 GMT, 05 Jan 11

A bumpy ride aheadt
--- * Thursday 06 January 2011, 15:40 * by Niko Wijnols
Outlook could get chilly, with doubts surrounding the strength of the recovery in many sectors
MARITIME professionals like to meet once in a while to discuss the past year and the year ahead, like we have done in the Netherlands for the past 30 years in early December during the ABN AMRO event in Rotterdam.
Since the merger of Fortis Nederland with ABN AMRO, the bank has decided upon a new strategy, which is to become the maritime bank serving all the maritime sectors and not only the more traditional shipping and port communities.
It has grouped all its departments within the bank that have to do with trade, energy, shipping, ports, offshore, transport, and so on, into one entity that serves the entire maritime cluster, not only at its home base, but more so abroad as that is where the opportunities and needs are greatest.
As chairman of the Dutch Maritime Network I welcome this initiative as it helps to strengthen the internal dynamics of the cluster and it may reinforce its international expansion drive, which has been impressive during the past years.
The ABN AMRO reception is preceded by a seminar with clients from abroad and from the Netherlands, during which the economic outlook for the year ahead is discussed.
The latest International Monetary Fund forecast suggests a very modest slowdown for 2011 with a growth rate for the advanced economies of 2%, a solid 9% for developing Asia, 4% for Latin America and almost 6% for sub-Saharan Africa.
The outlook for Asia, in particular the powerhouse China, is overshadowed by its changing demographics as the population is ageing rapidly and the country will have a problem in supporting the elderly, since it has no pension system and now will have to face the consequences of the one-child-per-family policy.
Although these European countries may look worrying, the situation in Japan and the US is even more serious than that.
The hope is that Asian economies will continue to grow and fuel world trade, which is projected to increase with 8% in 2011.
But the scale of the boom has changed the fundamentals and we now face a different prospect for the next decade. In the past decade, seaborne trade grew 38% to 8.2bn tonnes and the world fleet by 62% to 1.3bn dwt.
Dr Stopford reflects on that decade with his observation that Santa gave great presents to all. His take on the markets in 2011 is that after the crisis some markets recovered, but the strength of that recovery is in doubt.
For example, world steel production fell by 35% to 82m tonnes per month and is only now back at 118m tonnes, the same as in 2008, while Chinese iron ore imports are sluggish. As a lot of dry bulk carriers are still being built on that Chinese promise of ore imports, the years ahead may become troublesome.
On the oil front, the International Energy Agency predicts a slight increase in demand to 88.5m barrels per day. But oil supply and demand are also negatively affected by supply problems of deepwater offshore production and the worries about reducing greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels.
Container shipments per month have seen a strong recovery, which warrants some optimism for this segment as it is linked to industrial production and consumer demand.
Trade is set to grow at only a few percent per year at a time when the supply of ships is growing at more than 10 times that rate. There is an increasing market imbalance in these two major markets.
The container segment is more positive. A lot of excess capacity has been absorbed by slow steaming and will be needed in the years ahead for a solid demand growth. The liquefied natural gas segment shows a surprising development, with almost no deliveries due in the coming years, which is good news for the shipowners as demand for LNG is projected to increase substantially.
Shipyards keep on pumping out new ships at a rate which is not in sync with the demand side of the equation. Demolition is about 2.5 % of the fleet and that is not enough to compensate for the excess capacity build-up. The prices of newbuildings has fallen drastically, which is in a way good news as these prices were inflated in 2008.
So markets and freights rates have come down to earth after the supercycle ended with a crash in 2008-2009, which is good for globalisation and world trade.
Dr Stopford summarised his outlook for 2011 with the observations that the demand outlook is fuzzy, but could turn out all right. The orderbook is rolling out and it is now hard to stop, so there is still plenty of fun ahead.
Niko Wijnolst is chairman of the European Network of Maritime Clusters and Professor of Euromed Management, Marseilles

EU gives Greece ultimatum on crews
---The EU warned Greece in November that it risks fines if it fails to open the positions of captain and chief mate to non-Greeks on its flagged ships.
Source: Safety At Sea - Magazine - News 06 Jan 2011

All Europeans can skipper Greek ships, court ruling says
---Greece's top administrative court on Wednesday ruled that all Europeans were entitled to skipper Greek-flagged merchant ships after Athens was rapped by Brussels on the issue, a judicial source said.
The Greek Council of State approved a new presidential decree that eliminates restrictions on non-Greek skippers and first officers, provided that applicants are EU nationals with "adequate" mastery of the Greek language.
Members of the European Economic Area are also entitled to captain Greek-flagged vessels, opening the field to seafarers from Iceland and Norway but barring landlocked Switzerland, the semi-state Athens News Agency said.
The restrictions, which dated from 1993 and 1995, have so far earned Athens two convictions from the European Court of Justice, ANA said.
The European court had dismissed arguments from Athens that chief officers had to be Greek nationals because their station empowers them to assume police, magisterial and notary duties.
Under Greek law, skippers of Greek-flagged merchant vessels can also be summoned to aid the country's defence.
Source: By Agence France-Presse, Updated: 1/5/2011

Minoan Lines...
Coastal shipping firm Minoan Lines announced the cancellation of the sale of a 33.35 percent stake in Hellenic Seaways to rival ANEK as the latter has failed to pay the 25-million-euro installment agreed for 2010. As a result, Iraklio-based Minoan is taking over again at Hellenic Seaways and is relaunching its bid to find a new buyer. However, this does not rule out a fresh agreement with Hania-based ANEK, owned by Yiannis Vardinoyiannis.

2011 finds Greece mostly without 'spectre' of cabotage
---The year 2011 will be the first for the substantive imple-mentation of the lifting of cabotage, following the signing a relevant contract on cruises by relevant ministers last month.
The contract fully safeguards the interests of the public sector without restricting the activity of shipping companies with "superfluous bureaucratic procedures", according to the government.
Based on the ministerial decision, the contribution per passenger and roundtrip cruise voyage for ships flying a non-EU flag is set at 3.95 euros.
The amount of the contribution decreases by 20 percent on the explicit precondition that the company employs Greek seamen to a number corresponding to at least 1 percent of the total number of crew members. The amount of the contribution decreases by 7 percent for every additional Greek port that the ship approaches, according to the company's declared itinerary.
The first cruiseship to dock at the port of Piraeus in 2011 was the Costa Pacifica, while the MSC Fantasia docked at the port of Irakleio, Crete and Rhodes on Jan. 1.

Greece considers housing illegal immigrants on ships
ATHENS, Greece -- The citizen protection ministry plans to use huge ships in an effort to deal with the number of illegal migrants caught on Greece's territory, local media reported on Wednesday (January 5th). Two ships, currently at a port in Rotterdam, are outfitted to provide long-term housing for 1,000 people each and will operate as sailing centres for migrants. Dutch police use the vessels as a temporary detention facility for foreigners found to be illegally staying around Rotterdam. A delegation from the Greek government is expected in The Netherlands soon to discuss renting the ships. At the same time, the government plans to transform three old military barracks in the Evros region into migrant housing facilities. Greece has also announced controversial plans to build a fence along its border with Turkey, in a bid to stem the immigrant flow. (Ta Nea, Grreporter - 05/01/11)

Greek Cyprus to license offshore oil, gas exploration
A top Greek Cypriot energy official has said the administration in the southern part of the island will go ahead with a second licensing round for oil and gas exploration off its southern coast later this year, in a move that could stoke tensions with Turkey.
Cyprus was split into a Greek Cypriot south and a Turkish Cypriot north in 1974 when Turkey sent troops to the island in response to a coup by supporters of a union with Greece. The island joined the European Union in 2004, but only the internationally recognized south enjoys membership benefits. Turkey only recognizes the Turkish Cypriot state in the north where it maintains 35,000 troops. Talks aimed at reunifying the island have produced only limited progress since they began more than two years ago.