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Posidonia 2024: Time for shipowners to have fun!

This year’s Posidonia, the biennial shipping industry get-together in Athens, turned out to be the event with the largest participation in nearly 60 years of history. More than 2,000 exhibitors from 82 countries and 23 national pavilions participated in the central exhibition, at the Athens Metropolitan Expo. Throughout the week the most important people of Greek shipping met, talked and had fun with visitors from around the world joining in, at hotels and beach clubs in and around Athens.

How can they not have fun? The current period is excellent for Greek shipowners, who have turned the international crisis into an opportunity, increasing the value of their fleet to $180 billion, according to Bloomberg calculations. Rates for oil tankers ballooned after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In the Red Sea, Houthi attacks on the merchant fleet forced a vast majority of container ships to avoid the Suez Canal, once again supercharging earnings as distances sailed went up.

Greek shipowner Evangelos Marinakis predicted container and commodity shipping rates will likely rally in coming months, citing Houthi attacks in the Red Sea. The tensions haven’t shown up in earnings yet, but the prolonged impact of sailing thousands of extra miles around the tip of Africa likely will bite in the second half, said Marinakis at the TradeWinds Shipowners Forum in Athens. “This is building up and building up and, in my opinion, in two or three months time, as long as this continues, we will see a tighter market,” Marinakis said. “Very soon, vessels available will not be able to fulfill demand.”

Still , there is an ominous cloud over Paradise. Secondary sanctions on trade – especially oil and LNG – from Russia , are getting more intrusive and may well put a brake on Greek-owned (or -controlled) shipping . Until now, such shallows were skillfully avoided . Will this go on now ?

In a separate event, the 9th Capital Link Maritime Leaders Summit was organized in the Ballroom of the Nausika Hotel, at Vouliagmeni the Four Seasons. The attendance was massive, filling the hall. The discussions revolved around the leading position of Greek shipping, its course, the opportunities and challenges it faces. Among other speakers were Yiannis Alafouzos, Polys Hatziioannou, Giorgos Oikonomou, Yiannis Koustas, Nikos Tsakos, Haris Vafias, Giorgos Prokopiou, Evangelos Marinakis, Semiramis Paliou were speakers on panels. The new generation also stood out, the daughters of shipowners Milena Pappa, Suzanna Laskaridis, Ioanna Prokopiou together with Nikolas Hatziioannou and Alexandros Hatzipateras, who were on a panel to talk about shipping.