Title: ‘’Brave New World: Shipping in the Era of Trade Wars’’

The Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers Greek Branch held its 15th Annual Forum, in cooperation with the British Embassy Athens, on Tuesday, 10th of December 2019 at Eugenides Foundation.

The title was: «Brave New World: Shipping in the Era of Trade Wars» and theForum was well attended by over 400 shipping professionalsof the Greek and International shipping market.

At this year’s event, ICS celebrated 100 years of receiving its Royal Charter, which established the Institute as the only internationally recognised professional body representing shipping professionals from all sectors of the commercial maritime industry. ICS Greek Branch celebrated, also, 15 years of presence and success in providing professional maritime education and training to the Greek Shipping market, as well as of establishing a great network of Members and Students. 

A welcome address was made by Mrs Natalia Margioli – Komninou FICS, Managing Director of the ICS Greek Branch and Hellenic Management Centre and Mr Nicolas A. Tsavliris, FICS, Chairman of the ICS Greek Branch and Tsavliris Salvage Group.

A special address was made by Her Excellency, the British Ambassador to Greece, Ms Kate SmithCMG. The Ambassador highlighted the long standing and close relation of the British Embassy with the ICS Greek Branch and the successful and remarkable growth of the Greek Branch all these years.  

The panel included the following distinguished speakers: 

Mr Aris Koropoulis, Managing Director, ASTRA Shipmanagement Inc.

Mr George Lambrou MICS, Partner, Keystone Law – Solicitor Advocate and Maritime Arbitrator

Mr Dimitris Patrikios FICS, CEO, Kyklades Maritime Corporation 

Mr Filippos Prokopakis, Commercial Manager, Chartering / S&P, Danaos Shipping Co. Ltd.

Mrs Ioanna Prokopiou, Managing Director, Prominence Maritime S.A. / Sea Traders S.A.

Mrs Katerina Stathopoulou MICS, Executive Director, Investments & Finance Ltd

Mrs Eva Tzima, Research Director, Intermodal Shipbrokers Co.

The panel was moderated by Mr Simon Ward, FICS, Director, Ursa Shipbrokers. 

The forum itself was an informative and lively event. Eva Tzima, Director of Research at Intermodal, set the scene by describing how trade routes and freight rates in the different sectors had benefitted or lost out since early 2017, when President Trump was inaugurated. Philippos Prokopakis of Danaos shared with the panel and the audience how their container ships were being deployed differently as cargo flows changed in response to the tariffs imposed by the US and China alike. He saw new opportunities as new lines developed.

Dimitris Patrikios, CEO of Kyklades Maritime was of the opinion that the tariffs had been initially imposed as a reaction to US voters’ concern to a shifting of wealth from the west to the east and that this was why globalization was being rejected. The Chairman, Mr Nicholas Tsavliris, reminded the rest of the panel that it was the perceived lack of decent jobs in the west that was driving these policies, however these policies were being enacted. 

Some members of the audience wanted to know whether we should be making a more distinct difference between tariffs and sanctions, and how these affect shipping. Ioanna Prokopiou of Prominence Maritime/Sea Traders made the point that it was the consumer that would ultimately pay for tariffs, and the economy as a whole, because of the unintended consequences of trade wars, whilst sanctions affect the businesses. Shipping is affected by both. Aris Koropoulis of Astra Shipmanagement agreed that even though tariffs and sanctions are technically different, shipping should be equally aware of both as they are disruptive for good and bad.

George Lambrou, Partner at Keystone law, shared the story of a case in Russia where a sanctioned company were unable to take a guarantee from a P&I Club which left a vessel under arrest for a minor claim for over a year. Sanctions are meant to target individuals and companies but are increasingly used as a weapon in trade warfare, and in such warfare, there is innocent collateral damage.

The latter part of the forum was devoted to environmental issues as they are becoming increasingly important in geopolitical and geo-economics sphere. Katerina Stathopoulou Executive Director at Investments & Finance Ltd reminded the audience that even though ship finance may come dressed up in green, or any other color, it is the numbers, and profit, that count for the banks and other financial institutions at the end of the day. 

Emissions targets were debated, with passion, with Ioanna Prokopiou advocating slow steaming, and reminding everyone that in order to meet the targets, in her view arbitrarily imposed, this was the only real solution.  Others on the panel and in the audience disagreed, with alternative fuels, and technology advocated. This issue will not be going away soon.

The forum finished with the panelists giving advice to newcomers to the industry, all of which reflected the passion, insight, intelligence, knowledge and experience which they had shown during their participation of what was a very enjoyable and fulfilling evening. 

During the panel discussion, there was an impressive interaction between the audience and the panelists. Participants were asking questions to the speakers, commenting on the topics addressed and even, expressing their opinions and views. This fact proved once again that the ICS Annual Forum is not only a meeting point of shipping professionals but a platform of exchanging ideas and learn from each other.

The ICS Greek Branch was recognised, again this year, for being the largest examination centre in the world, being the best performing exam centre and is now a Model Branch within the ICS network. 

This excellent performance of the Greek Branch is translated into thirteen distinction students and three International Prize Winners, that have excelled in the ICS Professional Qualifying Examinations during the last academic year. All of them were honored during the Awards Giving Ceremony, which was included in the Annual Forum’s proceeding. 

The awarded Distinction Candidates were: 

Legal Principles in Shipping examination: Evangelia Lytra

Port Agency examination: Anna Litina, Trafigura Maritime Ventures

Shipping Finance examination: 

Vaios Papagrigorakis, EFG EUROBANK

Antonis Spanakis, Hellenic Bank Public Company Ltd

Dionysions Tsilioris, URSA Shipbrokers

Athanasios Tampaxis

Shipping Business examination: 

Alexandros Vlamis, Polembros Shipping Limited 

Konstantinos Andrianopoulos, Olympic Shipping & Management S.A.

Ship Sale & Purchase: 

Stavros Dragatis, National Bank of Greece

Elina Malamaki, Technomar Shipping 

John Vandoros, MG Livanos Maritime

Panagiota Ralli, International Routing Services

Evdoxia Stratigaki, VEGA Shipping Ltd. 

Finally, the 3 International Prize Winners were:

Dry Cargo Chartering Examination: Panagiotis Dimakopoulos, Interunity Management Corporation 

Ship Sale & Purchase Εxamination: Sotiris Alogakos, DASS Shipping

Shipping Law: Loukia Michail, Εmpros Lines Shipping Company  

Before closing this year’s Forum, Mrs Margioli Komninou awarded, on behalf of the ICS Greek Branch, the Chairman, Mr Tsavliris, for his continuous support to the Branch, his 15 years chairmanship at the Greek Branch since 2004 and his long-standing dedication to the Institute, being Member for over 50 years now.

The 15th Annual Forum of the ICS Greek Branch was held with the kind contribution and support of the following sponsors:

AB Maritime Inc., Acropolis Chartering & Shipping, , Best Oasis Limited, BPCO LTD, Capital Shipmanagement Corp., Cass Technava Maritime Ltd, Chios Navigation Hellas, Danaos Corporation, DTS Logistic Services, Eastern Mediterranean Maritime Ltd, Element Shipmanagement S.A., Gac Shipping S.A., Holman Fenwick Willan International LLP, IFCHOR, Jotun Hellas Ltd., Naftomar Shipping & Trading Co Ltd, Navios Maritime Holdings Inc,  Nereus Shipping S.A., Seaborne Shipbrokers S.A., Super Eco Tankers Management Inc., Target Marine S.A., Tsakos Energy Navigation, Ursachart S.A., Tsavliris Salvage Group