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WISTA Hellas Annual Forum debates shipping’s challenges and owners’ response

The WISTA Hellas 2017 Annual Forum brought key players from the Greek and international shipping community together for an lively panel discussion on the uncertainty dominating the global market at Intercontinental Hotel in Athens on Monday 27 November. More than 300 prominent shipping professionals attended the forum. For the first time, the agenda for the annual gathering included two panel discussions: the first debating the theme: “What are the challenges that may affect the shipping industry?” and moderated by Yannis Perlepes, General Manager of NAFTEMPORIKI Newspaper; and the second featuring panellists discussing “How ship owners cope with the industry challenges ahead?” under the moderation of John Cotzias, President of Hellenic Shipbrokers Association, Projects Finance, Xclusiv Shiprbrokers Inc. Panagiotis Kouroublis, Minister of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy opened the forum with a video message.

The first panel was composed of (in alphabetical order): Stamatis Bourboulis, General Manager, Euronav Ship Management (Hellas) Ltd; John Kokarakis, Technical Manager, Bureau Veritas; Theodore Kontes, Director, Majestic International Cruises; President, Union of Cruise Ship Owners & Associated Members; Hamish Norton, President, Star Bulk Carriers Corp; Christiana Prekezes, Executive Coordinator, Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association – HELMEPA; Kostas Vlachos, Chief Operating Officer, Consolidated Marine Management Inc.

The second panel was composed of (in alphabetical order): Sadan Kaptanoglu Shipping Manager, Kaptanoglu Shipping; Vassilis Mantzavinos, General Manager Greece UniCredit Bank AG; Milena Pappas, Commercial Director, Star Bulk Carriers Corp; Aristides J. Pittas, CEO, Chairman of the Board of EUROSEAS LTD; Valentios “Eddie” Valentis, Chairman and CEO, Pyxis Tankers; Lila Μ. Vergou, Chief Operating Officer, Vergos Marine Management S.A. Each panelist offered their insight into the forum’s themes and responded to questions about the greatest challenges facing shipping today.

Follow-up dialogues by representatives from major market sectors added further to the success of the event leading to an open and impulsive discussion that kept the audience focused till the very end. Issues discussed included global financial instability, maritime training, challenges faced by the maritime sector, new technology onboard the vessels, environmental concerns, automated ships, digitalization, cyber-security, Ballast Water Treatment Convention, climate changes and new investments and financing opportunities in an constantly changing and unpredicted business environment. A wide range of opinions and perspectives were aired, ensuring strong engagement throughout the debate.

In her opening address, WISTA Hellas President Angie Hartmann said: “I would like to thank our members for their active participation to our activities and for making WISTA an industry voice in the Greek Shipping community”. Ms. Hartmann presented to the audience WISTA Hellas and said: “This year also marks the first time that we’ve expanded the agenda of our annual forum with two panel discussions so that more representatives of the shipping industry could express their opinion and have sufficient time to discuss with you”. The President, also thanked on behalf of the Board of Directors the panelists, sponsors, media supporters and supporting organizations. Closing the forum, Mrs. Hartmann thanked once again the panelists, sponsors, media supporters, supporting organizations and the audience for a constructive and successful event, and invited everyone to a cocktail reception which lasted long into the evening.


Source: WISTA Hellas

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