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Navigating the Future of Shipping under the New Geopolitical Era..

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The 16th Maritime Conference, jointly organized by Maritime Economies and UPoilTankers & Trading Ltd, concluded on Wednesday, January 10, 2024, with resounding success. The conference focused on the theme:

“Navigating the Future of Shipping under the New Geopolitical Era:

The Impact of Geo-economics, AI, and ETS on Seaborne Trade and Shipping Finance Appetite.”

The conference was attended by 495 participants who engaged in the four sessions based on their interests. Additionally, 27 distinguished speakers from various countries contributed to the event.

The conference was inaugurated by the Deputy Minister of Shipping of Greece, I. Pappas, and the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Shipping of the Cypriot government, Stelios Heimonas. In their speeches, they addressed current issues such as geopolitical developments in the Middle East, terrorist attacks by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea, and maritime cooperation between Greece and Cyprus. Ms. Oikonomou, responsible for Port Infrastructure in New Democracy, also extended greetings.

Athanasia Oikonomou
Capt. Dimitrios Matthaiou

The keynote speaker of the conference was Capt. Dimitrios Matthaiou, CEO of Arcadia Shipmanagement & Aegean Bulk, president of Ahepa chapter St. Nicholas, and the Green Award Foundation. Capt. Matthaiou discussed the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea and their impact on global maritime trade, affecting 10% of the world’s seaborne commerce. He highlighted challenges arising from the Russia-Ukraine war, leading to increased insurance premiums, delayed deliveries, disrupted supply chains, and rising prices of food and raw materials.

The conference emphasized the crucial topic of decarbonization in shipping and the need for sustainable solutions for a smooth energy transition. Capt. Matthaiou underscored the positive influence of Artificial Intelligence and technological progress on the maritime industry.

The first panel discussion featured speakers like Alexandra Gana, Director of Gana Shipping, Spyros Capralos, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Starbulk, Valentios Valentis, CEO of Pyxis Maritime Corp, and Konstantinos Rokkos, Chairman & CEO of TST International SA.

The discussion highlighted how geopolitical developments create new maritime routes and opportunities for increased demand in ton miles.

The second panel, led by George Xiradakis, Senior Maritime & Investment Banker, Katerina Stathopoulou, Executive Director, Investments & Finance Ltd, Pinelopi Kassani, Partner at MOORE Greece, Vassilis Mantzavinos, Member of the board of Neptune Leasing, and Kostas Oikonomou, Deputy General Manager, focused on changes in maritime financing approval within the ESG framework and the connection between financing and green shipping.

The third panel, featuring Theodore Chouliaras, CEO of UPoilTAnkers & Trading, Ioannis Patiniotis, Finance Director at Carras (Hellas) SA, Panagiotis Gavalas, Director of Operations at IQ Solutions, Spyros Goumas, CEO of SQLearn, and Mike Konstantinidis, Managing Director, Vessel Optimisation at ZeroNorth, emphasized the need for technological system modernization, the importance of implementing AI, and addressing issues like cybersecurity.

The fourth panel, with speakers Helena Athoussaki, Chief Sustainability Officer at Motor Oil Group, Nikolaos Liapis, Energy and Business Consultant, George Margetis, CEO of Margetis Maritime Consulting, John Kokarakis, Technology & Business Development Director at Bureau Veritas, and Antonis Trakakis, Technical Director at RINA, centered on the need for decarbonization and compliance with new environmental regulations. It also included a debate on the effectiveness of Scrubbers in 2020.

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