Conference "European Maritime Week 2013" declares Hellenic shipping industr


On the occasion of the celebration of pan-European Maritime Day, as it was established from the European Commission in 2008 and took place this year in the capital of Malta, Valetta, the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence of the University of Piraeus organized, under the auspices of European Parliament Office in Greece and the Representation of European Commission in Greece, the conference «European Maritime Week 2013: Current Trends & Challenges Ahead», which was realized from 21/5 to 24/5 in the “I. Kranidiotis” Conference Hall of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The conference served a dual purpose: to promote, in the first place, the “ecosystem” and the
concept of Youth Entrepreneurship and Start-up companies, in maritime field as well as among young students, as a sound framework for financial activity and for generation of economic and business value. The objective of conversations was to put in the centre of interest this new framework where innovation, the need for creative employment and entrepreneurship could thrive and as a result constitute the driving forces of growth and change in working and business mentality of our country.
In this context, the first panel aimed at forming a theoretical background/framework (Professor of AUEB George Doukidis) and the instruments/tools (institutional: Mr Dimitris Tsigos- President of the Hellenic Start-up Association, OESUYNE-mr. Evagelos Achillopoulos, mrs. Andrea Solomonidou-Incubo Strategies Ltd financial: Mr. Loukas Pilitsis- Manager - PJ Tech Catalyst Fund, Mr. Irineos Filippidis- Co-Founder Groopio.com, Mr. George Tziralis-Partner Openfund.com , technological: Mr. Alex Roustas-CEO-Iqbility) which facilitate Youth Entrepreneurship and render entrepreneurship a more feasible procedure. Respectively, the second session presented representative and successful cases of
Start-up companies (Dopios.com, Layerise.com, Locish.com, Incrediblue.com, i-Kiosk.com),
demonstrating that the concept of Youth Entrepreneurship is not just an abstract and theoretical notion but instead it constitutes a functional model for practical ideas which serves as an immediate, simple, step-by-step response to real market needs.
The second aim of the conference was to provide a holistic approach of issues regarding
broader maritime industry, as the latter represents one of the main pillars of the Greek Economy that could contribute to its recovery. The target was to promote the momentum of the shipping markets, which evolve independently from Greece’s financial situation, and the strategic plan in which wider maritime activities such as shipbuilding and repair, sea tourism, cruise, marines, home-porting and sea drilling could foster synergies. The considerably important sessions of the conference dealt with subjects that in the context of broader European Maritime Policy could form the basic parts of a Strategic Development Plan with maritime and shipping activities of our country being its cornerstone.
In this respect, the second day of the conference was closely related to problems, needs and
proposed solutions concerning the sensitive matter of shipbuilding and repair industry in Greece. Furthermore, the results of a study regarding the prospects of the Greek Maritime Cluster were presented, a study that was conducted by a research team under the supervision of Professor of Maritime Studies Department of the University of Piraeus Mr. Eleutherios Thalassinos. The subsequent round table discussion gave the opportunity to the attendees to hear facts, figures and arguments from highly important people which form part of the maritime and business cluster of our country such as CEO of NAFSOL Mr. Apostolos Sigouras, Vice President of Processing Part of the Piraeus Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mr. Theodoros Pitsirikos, Director of ISM/ISPS and Surveys Deprtament of Hellenic Shipping Register Mr. Kiriakos Krimitzas, President of Piraeus Shiprepairing Association
Mr. Antonis Athanasopoulos, BoD Member of Hellenic Society of Maritime Lawyers Mr. Defkalion Rediadis, BoD Member of Piraeus Association of Maritime Arbitrationτο Mrs. Jenny Pournara-Bardavilia and Chairman - Federation European Maritime Consultants Dimitrios Kapaitzis. The conversation underlined the dynamic of the Greek Maritime Cluster both in the traditional field of maritime operations as well as in maritime services, so as to render Piraeus a global shipping centre. Moreover, special reference has to be made to the remarkable presentation of Director of Drilling & Operations of Hellenic Petroleum S.A. Mr. Fivos Simeonidis, regarding the prospects of hydrocarbons exploitation in Greece and also to the presentations that included innovative proposals such as light constructions of yachts and wind platforms from the President of Futrure Cooperations Mr. Nicolas Charalambous, as
these represent reliable alternative solutions for shipbuilding activities.
The main theme of the Conference’s third day was the shipping industry. The audience had the opportunity to enjoy presentations and suggestions of numerous considerable members of maritime community such as Mr. John Cotzias (Director of Intermodal Shipbrokers Co.), Harry Vafias (CEO of Stealth Gas Inc), Iraklis Prokopakis (Vice President of Danaos Corporation), Michalis Bodouroglou (Chairman of Paragon Shipping Inc.), George Saroglou (COO of Tsakos Energy Navigation), Emmanouil Vordonis (Former Managing Director of Thenamaris Ships Management), Andreas Merikas (Professor of university of Piraeus), Nikolaos Papanestis (Vice President at Shipping Department of DNB Bank) and Dimitris Constantinou (Partner Global Shipping Sector Leader of Ernst & Young), coordinated by Mr. George Logothetis (CFO & Analyst of George Moundreas & Company S.A.) and Mr. George Xiradakis (Managing Director & Founder of XRTC Ltd). Everyone’s presence constituted an integral and precious part of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence conference. The first and second sessions outlined in an accurate manner a business wise approach to the current situation and future trends prevailing in the main shipping markets and in the sector of shipping finance. 
The session that followed focused on the field of Port and Logistics Policy. It highlighted the augmented strategic role that Piraeus Port acquired recently and other central ports of Greece as well, in the framework of the Common Transport Policy of E.U. and in South Eastern Europe in general (mr. Anastasios Vamvakidis-Commercial Manager PCT S.A. mr. Pythagoras Papadimitriou-CEO HP Hellas, mr. Chronis Kokkinos-Partner, Strategy & Operations, Deloitte, mr. Konstantinos Papaioannou-Vice President THPA S.A.).
The last session concerned the considerably interesting issue of Maritime Piracy and its impact on global commerce, worldwide maritime community and the International Law with exceptional presentations taking place from Commander of Hellenic Navy Dimitrios Dalaklis, Franman Ltd Operations Manager Rear Admiral HN (Ret) Diamantis A. Paidas, Head of West Africa & Middle East Division of EOS Risk Management Mr Steve Hrawood and Honorary President of Hellenic Shipbrokers Asoociation Mr. Nick Pentheroudakis.
Finally, the fourth day of the conference had the honor to start with the speech of the Economic & Commercial Chancellor of Chinese Embassy Mr. Liwei Sun which had as a central point of reference the commercial relationships among Greece, China and E.U. and the welcome address by the Deputy Director of the European Parliament Office in Greece Mr. Antonios Kailis. Thereafter, in the first session we had the honor and pride to host Members of the European Parliament Mrs. Marilena Koppa, Mr. George Koumoutsakos and Mr. Spiros Danellis, the Press Representative of Representation of European Commission in Greece Mrs. Christina Karaitidi, who gave the speech of Commissioner of Maritime Affairs Mrs. M. Damanaki and the Director for Shipping Policy and Development of Ministry of Shipping, Maritime Affairs and the Aegean Cptn HCG Agisilaos Anastasakos. Their presentations and the subsequent conversation concerning “Blue Growth”, the strategic and diplomatic dimension of Trans-European Transport Networks, the strategic course of actions taking place in the South-East Mediterranean and the priorities set in the context of International Maritime Policy between E.U. and IMO, revealed important information regarding future challenges that Greece is going to face in the near future. The second session was also realized under the coordination of Founder & Director of the magazine “Νaftika Chronika” and academic Mr. Ilias Bisias, having as central subject European Transport Networks and Insular Policy. In particular, Professor of the Department of Maritime and Business Services of the University of the Aegean Mr. Thanos Pallis analyzed the advantages and the possibilities of home porting for Cruise Shipping in Greece whereas, the Consultant of General Secretary of the Aegean and Insular Policy Mr. Michalis Chatziefstathiou presented the strategy of Ministry of
Shipping, Maritime Affairs and the Aegean concerning Insular Policy and the prospects of economic development of Greece’s insular areas. Moreover, the President of Hellenic Seaplanes S.A. Mr. Nicolas Charalambous, refered to the positive prospects of connectivity of Greek islands via seaplanes and the Senior Research Associate of Laboratory for Maritime Transport, National Technical University of Athens Mr. George Panagakos presented an innovative approach in the common Transport Policy of E.U., the so-called “Green Corridors”. In conclusion, considerably important and informative regarding the Strategic
Development Plan of the Greek ports was the contribution of Task Force Greece representative Mr. Nikolaos Kleniatis. The conference was completed with the third and last session of the fourth day, which focused on Marine Tourism and Cruise. A panel with participants of unparalleled importance which enriched audience’s knowledge over the unlimited growth prospects of Marine Tourism in our country took place. The trigger for fruitful discussion was given by the thorough analysis of the Cruise Shipping sector that
was conducted by the Consultant of Piraeus Port Authority in Cruise issues, Professor Mr. Alkis John Corres, while the practical aspect of the subject matter was illustrated by the Chairman & Managing Director of Heraklion Port Authority S.A (H.P.A.) Mr. Ioannis Bras, who presented the practices and the strategy of the H.P.A., which succeeded to transform the Heraklion Port into a home port for established Cruise Shipping companies, providing the context for related synergies to rise. In turn, the Vice President of Union of Cruise Ship Owners & Associated Members Mr. Michael Labros gave his own view in the growth prospects of Cruise Shipping, while the Marketing Director of Louis Hellenic Cruises Mr. Manolis Makris gave an insight of the sector’s dynamic and the strategy of his company, which has as a centerpiece the promotion of Greek products and culture. Finally, not less valuable was the presentation of the Treasurer of the Greek Marinas Association Mr. Panagiotis Pappas concerning Marines sector in Greece. His presentation, that fueled a very interesting discussion, explained the highly promising growth prospects of the Greek Marinas sector that emerges after the “Niriides” plan against an unfavorable tax and bureaucratic
environment that currently conditions it.
The Conference had the honor to be concluded and culminated in Yacht Club of Greece with
the exceptionally honorary presence and speech of the Tsakos Foundation’s President και former Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization Mr. Euthymios Mitropoulos. Mr. Mitropoulos with his direct, well-structured, brilliant and concise speech illustrated in an accurate manner the challenges and future prospects of global shipping. In fact, Mr. Mitropoulos covered the broad spectrum of challenges faced by a shipping company regarding the volatile international political and financial environment as well as freight markets with an immediate effect on liquidity, investments and the funding requirements of
an enterprise, and also the current trends in the energy sector which will shape the future of international shipping and commerce.
Mr. Mitropoulos closing speech was followed by a Gala Dinner event that was given honoring the Conference’s participants.
Taking into consideration the honorary comments of the presenters and the supporters of the
Conference as well as the fact that, ultimately, it constituted a meeting point that stimulated a constructive dialogue and the exchange/sharing of knowledge and experience between stakeholders of business and shipping market, the Conference Organizing Team would like to express its deepest gratitude to all participants and the faculty members of the Department of Maritime Studies of the University of Piraeus for their remarkable contribution in the success of this conference and their distinct presence.
The Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence in Shipping, Trade & Transport, renews its rendezvous with all participants for the next year’s conference «European Maritime Week 2014» which coincides with the Greek Presidency of the European Union.