Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 04 - 2011


Appeal court decision seen as major boost for Piraeus

---The Piraeus Port Authority and Mediterranean Shipping Company have both been cleared by the Administrative Court of Appeal of Athens of breaching Greek and European Union competition rules. The judgment is seen as a major boost to Piraeus as it should remove any scepticism that potential customers may have in bringing transhipment volumes under contract to the two Piraeus' separately managed container terminals.
The decision overturns a ruling by the Hellenic Competition Commission in 2009 which found the PPA and MSC in breach of competition law and imposed a fine of Euro 1.2m on each. The case had to do with MSC's transhipment contract with PPA under which the Piraeus container terminal was used as a hub for the line's services between 1997 and 2007.
A complaint by Sarlis Container Services led to the fining of the two companies by the Comeptition Committee on the basis the contract amounted to unlawful collusion. The court of appeal held both the terms of the contract and its effect were compatible with Greek and EU competition rules on grounds of the benefits it conferred to the port and all its users, and canceled the HCC decision in its entirety.
The PPA was accused by Sarlis of abusing "its prime position" and causing heavy financial damage to shipping companies through its agreements with MSC which, said Sarlis give the Swiss/Italian liner company massive advantages. MSC was by far the port's largest container terminal client and the PPA maintained the contract with MSC was "completely justified on commercial grounds".
For observers it was hard to understand why the customer -- MSC -- was involved at all, and the fact it has been cleared is seen as particularly important, otherwise all potential customers could have been at risk.
While the decision is a boost to Piraeus' ambitions to become a major hub and transhipment port, the PPA finds itself in a battle to keep its leading client. As already reported by Newsfront, the PPA and its president and md, George Anomeritis is in talks with MSC, the world's second largest container line, for the signing of a new two-year contract involving the movement of 150,000 to 200,000teu annually through Pier I. The present 10-year contract expires in June 2012. The PPA believes talks have to begin with MSC to underline Piraeus' keenness to keep the business as it feels a new agreement with Gianluigi Aponte's MSC, a company with a proven track record regarding its ability to move a large number of containers, will make its Pier I viable in the future.
However, Cosco Pacific, which signed a 30 to 35 years concession to operate the port's container terminal Pier II in 2009 is not happy and senior executives of Cosco Pacific travelled to MSC's Geneva headquarters to woo MSC into an agreement to move containers through Pier II. The contract, expiring June 2012, covered a minimum of 500,000 movements by MSC, but in 2009 it was 'inherited' by Cosco, something MSC denounced. This is Cosco's first attempt at a rapprochement.
Pier I has a capacity of up to 1m teu and Pier II has a capacity of 2.6m teu.
A bid for Piraeus to become the most important port for car transit business in the Med was explored on January 25, during a meeting of PPA representatives, Wallenlus Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) and the Eugenides Group. WWL, is the PPA's largest client in the car transit sector, and both are looking to expand their cooperation as WWL can offer its vast experience and know-how in matters of operations, logistics and safety for the new and expanding 145,000sq mtr car terminal set to be in full operation by April 1. Movement of cars in transit in 2010 was 246,802 vehicles comparing to 103,166 in 2009, a rise of 139.2%.
WWL accounted for 156,884 vehicles in 2010.
-- Filed: 2011-01-25

Greek shipping magnate Vassilis Constantakopoulos dies
---08:45, January 26, 2011
Greek shipping magnate Vassilis Constantakopoulos, founder of Costamare Shipping Company S.A., passed away on Tuesday at the age of 76 due to cancer.
Born to a humble family in a village of southern Greece, captain Constantakopoulos rose through the ranks of merchant navy, starting from a teenager and in 1974 set up Costamare.
Today the company has a fleet of more than 50 vessels, mostly containers.
Beyond the shipping sector Constantakopoulos had invested in tourism and the mining industries in Greece through the companies TEMES and GEOHELLAS. His three sons Costis, Achilleas and Christos today run the family business.
He was one of the founding members of the Greek Marine Environment Protection Association (HELMEPA) which over the past two decades has offered educational courses on environmental protection to over 48,000 students from all over Greece.
Source: Xinhua

CMRE in landmark loan
---Costamare has wrapped up financing for three newbuildings in a pact which includes two Chinese banks.
It has also dipped into the second hand market for the first time since going public.
Export-Import Bank of China, China Everbright Bank and DnB NOR are providing the funds which will help pay for the 9,000-teu newbuildings on order in China.
The ships, on order at Shanghai Jiangnan Changxing Heavy Industry, already have long-term contracts with Mediterranean Shipping Company worth $43,000 daily in the bag.
DnB NOR has previously teamed up with Export-Import Bank of China to provide loans to John Angelicoussis and Diana Shipping.
Costamare has also purchased three second hand vessels from different owners in deals worth $25.3m.
It has paid $7.5m for the 2,020-teu Oraje (built 1991), TradeWinds is told.
By Andy Pierce in London
Published: 14:22 GMT, 24 Jan 11 | updated: 14:39 GMT, 24 Jan 11

Greek ship-owners miss China hand
---January 25, 2011 4:13 pm by Kerin Hope

New ships may hit freight rates
---Wednesday Jan 26, 2011 (21:28)
New ships on order amount to nearly a third of global shipping capacity, threatening to put downward pressure on dry-cargo freight rates this year due to high supply levels, according to data presented by a leading broker on Wednesday.
John Cotzias, CEO of Cotzias Shipping Group, said the pace at which new ships set sale will determine fluctuations in freight rates as global trade conditions improve.

Owners fighting for finance
---Funding options are on the table for small owners in 2011
Small owners wishing to raise funds will need to brainstorm as banks tighten their purse strings, the Marine Money conference in London heard last week. With banks only willing to lend 50-60% of the vessel value, even to well-established players, finding the remaining equity will be a challenge, said International Chamber of Shipping chairman Spyros Polemis in his address.
Alternative ways to find funds
Blind pool needs tackling
Source: Fairplay Fairplay - Trade 27 Jan 2011

Almi clinches bank finance for first half of mega-order
--- * Thursday 27 January 2011, 16:45 * by Nigel Lowry
His patience appears to have paid off as Mr Fostiropoulos confirmed that commitment letters financing the first five units had now been signed.
Deutsche Bank subsidiary Deutsche Shipping is bankrolling three of the first five tankers, while Credit Agricole Greek affiliate Emporiki Bank is understood to have agreed to finance the second and fourth in the series.
The first delivery is understood to be awaited by the end of this year, with another four due in 2012 and the remaining five in 2013.
Almi also has two very large crude carriers on order at Daewoo.
The loans are for 10 years, but with a 15-year profile with a bullet repayment.

Navios Maritime Partners L.P. Reports Financial Results for the Fourth Quarter and Year Ended December 31, 2010
2.4% increase in cash distribution to $0.43 per unit for Q4 2010
67.3% increase in quarterly Net Income to $18.4 million
89.5% increase in quarterly Operating Surplus to $27.1 million
80.9% increase in quarterly Adjusted EBITDA to $32.2 million
PIRAEUS, GREECE, January 24, 2011 - Navios Maritime Partners L.P. ("Navios Partners") (NYSE: NMM), an owner and operator of dry cargo vessels, today reported its financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2010.
Ms. Angeliki Frangou, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Navios Partners, stated: "We are pleased to increase our cash distribution per unit for the fourth quarter. This is the third increase in the last four quarters, and the $0.43 per unit distribution represents an increase of approximately 5% over the fourth quarter of 2009."
Ms. Frangou continued, "Overall, 2010 was a good year for Navios Partners. We grew the asset base substantially by adding 5 new vessels, all with long-term charters. At the same time, we reduced our leverage ratios. As we look forward, we believe that Navios Partners is well positioned for growth, and we will continue to pursue opportunities with the goal of growing our asset base, cash flow and distribution."
Increase in Cash Distributions
The Board of Directors of Navios Partners declared a cash distribution for the fourth quarter of 2010 of $0.43 per unit. This represents an increase of 2.4% from the cash distribution of $0.42 per unit declared for the third quarter of 2010. The distribution is payable on February 14, 2011 to holders of record on February 9, 2011.
Vessel Acquisitions
On November 15, 2010, Navios Partners purchased from Navios Maritime Holdings Inc. ("Navios Holdings") two vessels with attached charter-out agreements: the Navios Melodia, a 179,132 dwt Capesize vessel built in 2010, for a price of $78.8 million, and the Navios Fulvia, a 179,263 dwt Capesize vessel built in 2010, for a price of $98.2 million. The Navios Melodia has been chartered-out at a net rate of $29,356 per day until September 2022, contributing an annualized EBITDA of approximately $8.4 million. Navios Fulvia has been chartered-out at a net rate of $50,588 per day until September 2015, contributing an annualized EBITDA of approximately $16.0 million.
Following the acquisitions of the Navios Melodia and Navios Fulvia, Navios Partners' operational fleet consists of 16 drybulk vessels comprised of one Ultra-Handymax, five Capesize and ten Panamax vessels. The fleet has a total capacity of approximately 1.7 million dwt and an average age of approximately 5.0 years.
Credit Facility
On December 15, 2010, Navios Partners entered into an amendment to its existing credit facility ("Credit Facility") and borrowed an additional $50.0 million under a new tranche to partially finance the acquisitions of the Navios Melodia and Navios Fulvia. The amendment provides for, among other things, a new interest rate margin ranging from 1.65% to 1.95% depending on the applicable loan to value ratio, improved amortization profile with a repayment schedule that begins in February 2011 and reduction of minimum liquidity by approximately $20.0 million.
Long-Term and Insured Cash Flow
Navios Partners has entered into long-term time charter-out agreements for all 16 vessels with a remaining average term of 4.6 years, providing a stable base of revenue and distributable cash flow. Navios Partners has currently contracted out 100.0% for 2011, 94.7% for 2012 and 75.1% for 2013, generating revenues of approximately $176.6 million, $170.1 million and $133.9 million, respectively. The average contractual daily charter-out rate for the fleet is $30,248, $30,669 and $32,560 for 2011, 2012 and 2013, respectively. The average daily charter-in rate for the active long-term charter-in vessels for 2011 is $13,513.
Navios Partners' charter-out contracts are insured by an AA+ rated European Union governmental agency.
For the following results and the selected financial data presented herein, Navios Partners has compiled consolidated statement of operations for the three month period and the year ended December 31, 2010 and 2009. The quarterly 2010 and 2009 information was derived from the unaudited condensed consolidated financial statements for the respective periods. Adjusted EBITDA and Operating Surplus are non-US GAAP financial measures and should not be used in isolation or substitution for Navios Partners' results.
[ To view the complete Press Release, go to ]

EU regulators block merger of Greece's two biggest airlines
The last deal to be blocked also involved airlines, when the European Commission prevented Ryanair acquiring Aer Lingus in June 2007 because the deal would have meant less choice and higher prices.
Aegean and Olympic, which control more than 90 per cent of the Greek air market, had not offered sufficient remedies to ease competition concerns, the EU watchdog said.
Tourism receipts, a key earner for recession-hit Greece, fell last year as anti-austerity protests discouraged visitors.
The airlines offered to cede take-off and landing slots in Greece, but the commission said this was not enough, as Greek airports do not suffer from the levels of congestion affecting others in Europe.
The carriers rejected suggestions they should give up part of their fleet or one of their two brand names to new entrants into the market, Mr Almunia said.
Aegean said the brand-name proposal was unacceptable.