Greece and Posidonia: The heart of Shipping by Theodore Vokos
Unbelievable as it may seem, Greece, a small country of some 11 million residents, is the global leader in an industry of outmost importance to the global economy. This industry is Shipping and Sea Transportation. The Greek fleet is the largest under the control of any single group of nationals, and represents 40% of the European shipping sector and 15% of global shipping.
Recent studies on international shipping confirm that Greek shipping maintains its leadership position over the years, continuously evolving to adapt to an increasingly complex and more competitive business environment and shaping trends and practices of the industry.
At the beginning of November 2014, Greeks had approx. 550 ships of almost 50m dwt on order, roughly valued at $27bn (Naftiliaki study, 2014), amounting to 11,5% of the value of global orders placed in shipyards worldwide.
Bulk carriers and tankers clearly dominate the order book, but there is a growing interest in a wider variety of ship types and a trend towards more investment-intensive sophisticated tonnage such as Offshore Supply Vessels and drilling rigs, container ships, LNG and LPG carriers.
Posidonia, the International Shipping Exhibition that takes place every two years in Athens, Greece, has been for more than 45 years now the ultimate meeting place of the global shipping industry with the Greek shipping family. Is it no coincidence that Posidonia is considered a must attend event, an ideal platform for all maritime-related companies, organisations and associations interested in gaining direct access to the Greek shipowners.
The latest edition of Posidonia that took place on 2-6 June 2014 was attended by 19.421 visitors from 96 countries. The week-long event ended on a high note creating new records in both the number of unique visitors and participating countries, in a further testament to the enduring appeal and growing popularity of the world’s biggest, most diverse and prestigious shipping event. Exhibitors reached an astounding 1.843 from a total of 93 countries – another Posidonia record and the most tangible of proofs about the show’s global appeal.
Posidonia organisers are confident that the 2016 event, scheduled from 6 to 10 June 2016 at the same state-of-the-art Metropolitan Expo venue, will be an equally successful and productive event for all exhibitors. “Forward bookings look exceptionally encouraging and we are confident that the success of this year’s Posidonia will be emulated in two years’ time,” said Theodore Vokos, Executive Director, Posidonia Exhibitions SA. “Posidonia‘s strong links with the Greek shipping community and its proven track record as the place where deals get done, are two of the most important assets that distinguish this event in the minds of the global maritime community”, added Vokos.
The Greek fleet has been undergoing a massive update during the last years, creating huge opportunities for business and new co-operations in all sectors of shipping. When it comes to newbuildings, Greeks rank first in terms of value and second in terms of tonnage. China, Japan and Singapore appear in the first three places in terms of number of ships ordered in the first two quarters of 2014, which also confirms that Greeks invest in bigger ships.
In more detail Greek orders at present include:
P 254 bulkers / 24.5m dwt
P 129 tankers / 15.9m dwt
P 93 gas carriers (34 LNG and 59 LPGs, approx. 23% and 43% of the respective orderbooks)
P 49 container ships of 3.27m dwt are on order for eight companies
Currently, deliveries of ships ordered until 12 months ago are taking place at an average rate of two ships per week. There are now 94 entities worldwide building ships for Greek interests, according to Naftiliaki study, 2014.
In the gas carriers sector, it is important to mention that in 2010 there were only 17 LPGs and no LNG orders for Greek interests, whereas now already 12 companies have inked gas carriers, half of them supported by funds raised in the capital market. Among them, newcomer Dorian Hellas, which has 17 ships for delivery over 12 months from January 2015. Harry Vafias-led StealthGas confirms having 19 LPG carriers on order at four Japanese and two South Korean yards.
Overall, Greek interests clearly dominated both the international newbuilding and Sales &Purchase (S&P) sectors, with $12,1 billion invested in both newbuildings and second hand purchases in the first 8 months of 2014.
During the above mentioned period, Greek investments in the second hand market reached $7,8 billion for 277 oceangoing vessels of 21,285 million dwt, according to Intermodal Shipbrokers. Thus, it was Greek shipping that covered for 34,6% of the amount spent in the second hand market globally, which also represents 37,1% in terms of tonnage. In all, they are also leaders in the second hand market, followed by American investments of $2,7 billion. Singapore follows in third place.
The modernization of the Greek fleet is also confirmed by data regarding ship sales and scrapping: 73 vessels of Greek interests went to scrap, while 106 were sold for $2,136 billion.
The above data confirm that Greek Shipping and Posidonia are by far the biggest market for shipbuilders, ship equipment manufacturers and ship service providers, presenting ample opportunities for the global shipping industry.
The manner in which the Posidonia exhibition has evolved over the years showcases the importance this event has for the Greek and global maritime community, as they have chosen Posidonia as their biennial fixed meeting point, to gather and discuss the challenges the industry faces. Shipping is one of the key drivers of the global economy and Posidonia reflects both the strength and importance of this industry, projecting the industry’s positive outlook for the future of the global economy.
Besides the busy exhibition-floor itself, another important element of the Posidonia agenda are the many interesting conferences, seminars, presentations and technical workshops that take place during the Posidonia week within the venue. Latest trends, challenges and opportunities, new technologies, safety issues, new regulations and all other kinds of issues concerning the global maritime community are discussed and debated during the Posidonia week, establishing Athens as the world centre of shipping related intel and updates every two years.
Posidonia week also includes The Posidonia Games, a series of sporting events for shipping executives. Over 800 shipping professionals are estimated to participate at the Posidonia Cup, the Posidonia Golf Tournament, and the Posidonia Shipsoccer Tournament that offer both excitement and extra networking opportunities among maritime executives.
Last but not least, it should be noted that one of Posidonia’s most important features is that it projects a positive image of Greece to the world, while highlighting the important contribution that Greek shipping makes to both the national and the global economy. Posidonia literally boosts the local economy of Athens and wider Attica as exhibitors and visitors invest significant amounts in their Posidonia participation and, more importantly, this windfall of foreign income is repeat business for the Greek economy. It is worth mentioning that some Euro 50 million are generated throughout Posidonia week by exhibitor and visitor spending on hotels, restaurants, business meetings, hospitality events, stand constructions, transportations, customs clearance and movement of exhibits etc. Moreover, such a high quality event taking place in Athens promotes Greece and the city itself as an ideal destination for major international trade events, contributing to the future development of the MICE sector in the region.
As Greek shipping continues to grow, Posidonia organisers are preparing to welcome the global shipping community at their next biennial meeting, in June 2016.