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Nikos Nikiforos: Greek dry bulk shipping must expand now into the commercial & freight trading activities

The financial crisis and its extension in shipping create new opportunities & developments not only in the asset play market i.e. the sale & purchase of ships, but also in the sector of commercial operations and freight trading. Greek shipping enjoys a prominent position in the world, through the achievements of its entrepreneurs and industry’s professionals, who led the country to house the management of the biggest private fleet in the world.

However very few have been done locally to exploit the commercial opportunities this power generates. Our history is full of success stories in ship owning and management but it is very poor in the commercial management which is limited to spot and mainly the time charter employment of the owned ships only.

At the same time other shipping nations like the Danish, Norwegians, Koreans and lately Chinese have expanded to commercial management and freight trading, a direction creating a wealth out of the advanced utilization of our assets and developing a bond with the international production and world’s trading companies.

No doubt this relation led to various cooperations, fruitful joint ventures and other business opportunities which our market do not even learn most of the times.

Moreover, the appreciation of the ships’ values and the size of the investments have led our market towards a greater dependence to these nations’ commercial operators and freight traders to secure the long term employment needed to cover the investment.

We have experienced unparallel market conditions over the last five years and we have closed a circle which has given a lot of power to the majority of the shipping companies in Greece.

We are now at a crossroad where we have to get out of the crisis not only intact but stronger and wiser so to claim our share from the world’s commercial markets, a share reflecting our transportation capacity. It is now mature to get closer to the international commodity users and traders and evolve to the reliable shipping partner they need for the safe transportation of their goods. After all this is basically our job.

We are confident that the market will give us the opportunity to act towards this direction since we need some 6-12 months to see the effects to the market of the extensive new building program.  Tonnage over supply combined with a recovery at the world economies, as some signs indicate for 2010 onwards, will create high volatility, with extreme lows and highs on the market. In other words it is the perfect scene for commercial and freight trading activity.

Ariston Commercial Services  prepares  the platform  which will offer the opportunity to the Greek dry bulk market, and not only, to exploit the opportunities this market will offer in the freight trading and commercial management fields and claim a share from the world’s transportation pie.

ELNAVI - June, 2009

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