The 7th Maritime Trends Conference concluded successfully, with insightful outcomes for the Maritime Sector
Τhe 7th Maritime Trends Conference-which was organized on May 18th 2019 by Marine Tours, with the support of Etihad Airways, and under the auspices of DEREE – The American College of Greece and ALBA, Graduate Business School, The American College of Greece, concluded its proceedings with unprecedented success.
The Conference’s purpose was to educate and inform the sector’s executives on the recent developments and the forecasts of the Maritime Sector, with particular emphasis on modern standards of effective human resources management.
More than 300 executives from 140 shipping companies, as well as a number of prominent representatives of the shipping community, honored the event.
The conference commenced with the panel titled “Market Trends & Conditions”, coordinated by the reputable journalist Minas Tsamopoulos, showcased the current conditions and future market trends. The first speaker of the panel was Mr. John Cotzias, Chairman of the Hellenic Shipbrokers Association and co-founder of Xclusiv Shipbrokers Inc., who conveyed some optimistic messages about the dry cargo market, indicating a significant increase, while the market has doubled its volume recently. Mr. Cotzias did not hide his concern over the protective policies that have become more prominent in recent years, while underlining the fact that developing countries, especially Asia and China in particular, are major contributors to the sustainability of the demand in Shipping, and in the growth of the Sector for the next five years.
At the core of his speech, Captain Dimitrios Mattheou, Arcadia Shipmanagement & Aegean Bulk’s Chief Executive Officer and President of the Green Award Foundation, presented the issue of environmental excellence and the importance of education, in adopting an environmentally responsible attitude. The speaker pointed out, among others, that “today’s” actions will have a significant effect on the environment of “tomorrow” and that every decision taken will “sign-off” on the future of next generations. He advised the delegates to invest heavily in human capital, by supporting models of education based on human behavior, and in particular on knowledge and awareness that lead to conscious actions, in favor of the environment.
Dr. Giorgos Dimopoulos, Head of R & D & Advisory Department of DNV GL, took the stand as the third speaker; who presented the new Digital Age of Shipping and analyzed the challenges and changes derived from digitization in shipping. The use of new technologies offers more coherent information, as well as immediate alert and action and helps significantly in risk management and program planning. As he stated, “smart” shipping is also safe shipping.
The first panel of speeches was completed with the speech of Mr. Yannis G. Timagenis, Partner of Timagenis Law Firm and Lecturer at Deree – American College of Greece, who elaborated on the “hot” topic of shipping finance and distressed loans in Shipping. He particularly emphasized on the transition from traditional to alternative funding channels and from West to East, as more than 10% of the sector’s funding comes from Chinese banks. He also talked about loan transfer techniques, which have been widely applicable over the past 5 years, as a tool to deal with distressed loans.
In the second panel entitled “Trends in Crew Management”, which was coordinated by the Chairman of the Hellenic Federation of Maritime Economists, Dr. Ioannis Patiniotis, the issue of crew management and how this could affect the efficient operation of the shipping business, was discussed.
In the first speech, the delegates had the opportunity to be informed by Dr. Maria Progoulaki, Regional Representative & Senior Consultant, Green-Jacobsen A/ S and Teaching Fellow at Alba, Graduate Business School – The American College of Greece, on the skills that crews are required to obtain in the ever-changing Shipping Sector.
Dr. Progoulaki emphasized on the value of interpersonal skills and relationships, while highlighting their importance in the performance of managers within the company. Particularly interesting was her position that the aptitude in interpersonal relationships is not a question of personality, age or academic background, but it is an ability that is crafted.
Cpt. Helle Andsbjerg, Maritime Consultant at Green-Jakobsen A/ S, Life and Business mentor, referred to the peculiarities between crew and office executives’ communication, stating the needs and challenges that come up. She stressed, in particular, the importance of mutual familiarity between each other, with regards to the needs, the abilities and working conditions of each other.
The conference’s attendees were then addressed by Vivek Menon, Head of Department of Occupational Health and Safety, SEA HEALTH & WELFARE, who dealt with crew welfare factors and the importance of ensuring prosperity for Shipping in the Future. The speaker noted the importance of welfare for the credibility and safety of crews, while pointing out the urgent need for redeployment and the development of relevant strategies and tools to make shipping more appealing to younger generations.
The conference concluded with the speech of Dr. Kate Pike, Associate Professor, Senior Research Fellow, SOLENT University. The speaker talked about stable and fluid crews and highlighted the particular value of stable crews in crew welfare, reducing delivery times, maintaining human resources and reducing recruitment and training costs. Finally, she noted the importance of leadership and managerial skills by the four senior officers, while at sea, for the safety and well-being of crews.
It is worth noting that the conference’s participation was offered to the shipping executives for free, since this Conference is one of the various actions implemented by Marine Tours within the scope to support and promote Greek shipping.
During the last years the company reached the top of the local Greek market achieving an annual turnover of more than €230 million and has already received numerous distinctions and honorary awards from the most reputable international organizations for its contribution to the touristic growth specifically, as well as overall entrepreneurial development.
With a long history and tradition in the support of the global maritime community, Marine Tours provides high-level travel management services for seamen and shipping executives (Marine & Offshore Travel), combining the personal approach of a local agent with the global reach of a prestigious international organization. The broad activities of Marine Tours also extend to the business travel industry (Corporate Business Travel), where it constitutes the strategic partner of the major “Corporate Customer” of the Greek business market, as well as in organizing incentive journeys and conferences.
For Marine Tours, supporting education today is critical not only to the success and growth of the company itself, but also to the entrepreneurial world and the society in general. Given that, and aiming to continue offering both its corporate and social stakeholders access to the “society of knowledge”, the company organized for the seventh consecutive year the “Maritime Trends Conference”.