With its huge axis of interests and expertise, the mainland and island archipelago will play a pivotal role in helping to mould a fuel-efficient and environmentally active future. The President of the Union of Greek Shipowners, Theodore E. Veniamis, and Lloyd’s Register’s Regional Marine Manager, Apostolos Poulovassilis discuss the key issues.
The period 2009–2011 was undoubtedly one of deep crisis and major upsurge for the entire planet. We just need to remember the spreading of the piracy threat, the Fukushima disaster, the turbulence in the eastern Mediterranean with events in Syria, Egypt and Libya, the phenomenal economic crunch and the subsequent diminution of strong economies in Europe and in the US. The crisis has massively affected sea transport too with a reduction in worldwide trade and financial scarcity, consequences of unknown length and unforeseen intensity.
In this negative climate, Greek shipping continued its impressive course over recent years. It conserved and further strengthened the power of its fleet and its vessels continued their work disregarding the charter market volatility and management controversies. In 2011, Greek-managed shipping demonstrated a satisfactory performance. Suggestively we mention that the Greek- owned fleet represents 41% of the tonnage of the European and 14% of the worldwide fleet.
Apostolos runs Lloyd’s Register’s Marine Business for Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) covering a vast region from western Africa to Pakistan in the East and Scandinavia and Russia in the north to Cape Town, South Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.
Based in Piraeus, his biggest shipowner/shipmanager market is Greece, but his teams manage a wide variety of clients and challenges.
“Life is always interesting, that’s for sure,” he says. “We have an incredible variety of operating philosophies and cultures within the EMEA region. While we have experts in every required language we all have in common the language of shipping.
“Here in Greece we are particularly close and responsive to the market demands and changes. With 140 staff in our Piraeus building we provide a high level of support to clients in the area. And our support for Greek owners worldwide is additionally helped by the diaspora of our Greek nationals. But across the region, with, for example, design support offices in London, Rotterdam, Hamburg, Madrid, Trieste and Piraeus we provide a depth of service that is hard to match.”
Asked about the big challenges facing the market he cites the need for greater efficiencies and help in meeting new regulatory requirements, while managing in the overall global economic downturn.
“We can help shipowners – as well as designers, manufacturers and shipbuilders – to meet the need to improve energy efficiency. An important area, where we have pioneered a new approach for shipping, is in the application of the ISO 50001 energy management system standard for the shipping industry. Although we are marine experts, Lloyd’s Register’s leadership in providing quality assurance through our LRQA business enables us to provide and deliver a broader and integrated range of services in a holistic manner for the maritime community.”
Emissions regulation and higher energy prices are the two leading factors changing our industry. New technologies and innovation will play a vital role in the immediate and long-term future of shipping.
At Lloyd’s Register we believe that we stand on the brink of a new era. We have talked about this as a ‘new paradigm’. Any evolution will be gradual, but at Lloyd’s Register we can already see changes happening.
New fuels, new engines and new designs are becoming available.
Apostolos was recently named ‘Manager of the Year’ at the annual Efkranti Awards organized by the magazine Naftika Chronika and the Hellenic Association of Maritime Economists (ENOE).
Republished with permission via Horizon’s Magazine