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Helping owners and charterers manage risk

Nikos Nikiforos and Christina Karalaki decided to transform Greek owner Oceanbulk Maritime from their employer into their first client account. In February, the duo officially quit the busy chartering desk of Oceanbulk and announced the formation of Ariston Commercial Services.

Describing what the company does is not exactly straightforward.

Nikiforos says it is not a broker nor a chartering operation but sets up project-based dry-cargo joint ventures between charterers and owners in which it also participates. The ventures, he adds, aim to capitalise on freight trades and manage excessive volatility.

Traders are often eager to make long-term agreements that will give them stable cost projections for their transport needs, Nikiforos says. Large operations already have a number of such deals in place but thisis not the case for many small traders, he adds.

Karalaki says this is the kind of work she and Nikiforos were involved with in Oceanbulk's freight-trading department. After working there 11 years managing ventures with various charterers, she says they both felt it was time they cast a net among the wider shipping community.

Nikiforos says Ariston provides a trading platform for owners and charters in projects including chartering, risk management and derivatives trading.

The duo started off with one secretary to deal with their first client but today the company employs a staff of 10 and runs three trading desks in dry cargo, forward-freight agreements (FFAs) and risk management.

TradeWinds - August 14th, 2008

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