Greek Shipping Leading the Way
By Tony Allen, Director (Greece), North P&I Club
It is nearly a decade since the global crisis began and Greek shipping has proven its ability to weather the storm. With freight rates improving a little at least in some sectors and the newbuild order book becoming more balanced, along with anticipated scrapping, there is cautious optimism of a recovery as we look forward to renewing old acquaintances and making new ones at Posidonia this year.
Greece is maintaining its pole position as the world’s leading maritime nation, controlling 20% of the world fleet and 50% of the EU fleet, as well as playing a full role in the debate over the future direction of our industry. What’s more, Greeks now chair four of the leading global shipping organisations. We are proud to say that this includes North Members, Intercargo chairman John Platsidakis, and European Communities’ Shipowners’ Associations president Panos Laskaridis.
When we meet at Posidonia next month, we can confidently predict the topics that will dominate the speeches in the seminar rooms and the discussions in the exhibition hall. From regulations and environmental concerns due to greenhouse gas emissions and ballast water management, through to sanctions, cyber risks, and a shortage of the right crew, the challenges are prominent.
Against such a backdrop, we see the first role of P&I as supporting our members and enabling them to trade with confidence. North’s Greece office opened in 2000 and now North’s growing Greek membership accounts for 23% of North’s owned P&I fleet. Every day we see the hard work and commitment of our Greek membership, often in challenging circumstances, and we aim to do all that we can to help. In practice, this means ensuring that we provide expert and accurate advice and assistance as quickly and effectively as possible.
This is a particular imperative on the claims front, where commercial pressures mean that time is of the essence, and decisions need to be made on the best information available. To that end we have a highly qualified, expert team both here in Piraeus and Newcastle, including lawyers, master mariners and a naval architect.
We are all too aware that ever-increasing regulation, fragile economic recovery, and freight rates not what we would all hope place an imposing burden on today’s shipowners and we at North have a vital role to play in supporting our members. To further assist our membership, we are continuously rolling out loss prevention initiatives. For example, we have been heavily involved in educating members on the importance of cyber-resilience. Three in ten companies have no response plan to a digital attack, and since most malware gets into systems through the human factor, education is vital. Further information is available at www.nepia.com/insights to help owners improve their resilience to cyber-crime, including our ‘Be Cyber Aware at Sea’ campaign resources.
The importance of recruiting, training and retaining the right crew remains a vital, often constant task for ship owners and is the focus of North’s Right Crew initiative. We also continue to advise members on the importance of safety procedures and the human element in avoiding maritime casualties. This includes the importance of following the proper safety procedures and risk assessments. For many years slips, trips, and falls were treated as part and parcel of a seafarer’s time on board, but there is now much greater awareness of the human and economic costs that can be eradicated through better education, awareness of risks, and vessel design.
We are tremendously proud of our Greek membership and grateful for the trust and support we are given. Greek shipping continues to lead the way and we will continue to do all that we can to play our part in its success making sure that our members can trade with confidence.
North P&I Club is a leading global marine insurer providing P&I, FD&D, war risks and ancillary insurance to 195 million GT of owned and chartered tonnage. North is also a leading member of the International Group of P&I Clubs (IG), with over 12% of the IG’s owned tonnage. For further information visit: www.nepia.com