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HANSA 04-2017

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Finanzierung | Financing

Finanzierung | Financing Greek shipping: against all odds Despite challenging market conditions, the Greek-owned fleet becomes larger and younger. Also the rest of the maritime cluster aims to expand market shares worldwide and in the mediterranean markets It is widely acknowledged that shipping contributes substantially to the national economy of Greece. The aggregated amount is estimated circa 13.2 bn €, or 7% of the GDP, along with almost 200,000 jobs ashore and on board. Significant investments other than shipping in the country as well as endowments and contributions of the shipowners are not considered in the above sum, yet reveal the pivotal role of the maritime industry in the economy and the society. Allegations regarding the taxation of tonnage are not justified, and there is substantial evidence of the magnifying effects of the activity in the tax-revenue structures. Moreover, the Greek shipowners have voluntarily contributed a sum of circa 0.5 bill. € for the tonnage that is owned and managed by Greek companies but is registered under foreign flags. This liquidity injection to the national economy occurs in a period, where all owners globally are in dire straits. The development of the Greek fleet is remarkable considering the weak freight markets and the emerging uncertainties in the international web of trade. Since 2001, the fleet has grown with a pace of 5.66% annually in terms of DWT and 1.52% in terms of number of ships, yielding an annual increase of 4.08% of the average DWT per vessel. These figures suggest an absolute increase of 141% in DWT and 27% in number of vessels till the end of 2016. Apart from the noteworthy increase of the fleet, the average age is decreasing by 3.46 % every year, improving the average age from 21.41 years in 2001 to 12.19 in 2016. Clarkson’s database provides an indicative breakdown of the fleet, where 215 tankers, 141 product carriers, 25 LNG, and 196 bulkers out of 1,364 ships under the Greek registry are accounted. The fleet is valued at more than 100 bill. $, with an estimated leverage of 60%. In a few words, the Greek shipowners have more than 50% of the GDP of Greece in the water, servicing international trade. As per data of UNCTAD, the Greek owned fleet is not solely registered to the national registry; almost 80% of the tonnage in DWT and number of ships is registered under other flags. Thus, the growth of the Greek ownership does not necessarily lead to an increase of the significance of the Hellenic registry. Notably, 27 mill. t of deadweight of Greek ownership is reported by Clarkson’s, where 13.5 mill. DWT are tankers and 6.8 mill. DWT are bulkers. The orderbook includes also many containerships (1.5 mill. DWT), mainly ordered by Lomar and Costamare, LNG carriers (1.8 mill. DWT) for Dynacom, Angelikousis, GasLog and Chandris, and product carriers (1.8 mill. DWT) for Tsakos, Eletson, Goulandris, and others. It is therefore clear that Greek owners are renewing and expanding their dry and wet fleets and dynamically extend various segments of specialized tonnage. Development of the cluster Petrofin statistics suggest that the total number of shipping companies is declining in total, yet the number of larger companies is rather stable. Almost 400 companies have a fleet of more than four vessels, and more than 200 companies manage less than four vessels. The declining total number implies a consolidation or the survival of relatively larger companies. The pool of small companies suggests a rather healthy HANSA series on global maritime hubs industry with many »births« and »deaths«, a rejuvenation and regeneration process. The same source reveals that almost 316 companies manage 2,053 bulkers over 10,000 DWT, totaling to 162,8 mill. DWT of 8.16 years average age. Fewer companies, almost 86 manage 857 (132 mill. DWT) tankships over 10,000 DWT of an average age of 9.33 years, while an increasing number of 32 companies manage 381 containerships younger than ten years on average. All these shipping companies along with 814 companies registered in the Chamber of Commerce of Piraeus, as companies related or supporting the marine and maritime activities shape the vivid cluster of »Maritime Hellas«. This cluster is jointly supported by the institutional bodies of the Chamber of Shipping and of the Chamber of Piraeus along with the Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS). The aim of the cluster is to increase the visibility and the strength of local value chains by improving the productivity and effectiveness, thus reducing related costs and sharing streamlined information among all actors. Joint actions, such as development, research and innovation projects are desired, but are not expected to happen automatically. Things take time, and such actions also demand welltrained and educated workforce, especially at the helm of the business units. Nevertheless, the goal is to retain and expand market-shares, and priorities, such as the manufacturing of marine equipment, »green« retrofit and demolition are already set. It seems that the cluster is rebooting after the major hit in 2008. The ship owning and management community is still 56 HANSA International Maritime Journal – 154. Jahrgang – 2017 – Nr. 4

Finanzierung | Financing Greek Flag vs all Flags Greek flag vs all flags DWT mil 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 2014 2015 2016 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Greek flag all flags rel. % No of vessels 4500 4000 3500 3000 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0 2014 2015 2016 21% 21% 20% 20% 19% 19% 18% 18% 17% 17% 16% Greek flag all flags rel. % Diagrams: Orestis Schinas growing and strives for a level playing field; this is at least revealed in the offcial documents presented at the IMO and other bodies and forums, especially in environmental issues that commonly lead to regional initiatives. Business units ashore seem to understand the strategic importance of the location at a global level and start playing their cards towards this direction. The concession for 35 years of the port of Piraeus to China’s Cosco shook up the port community, as it became clear that international players have a keen interest in the location and there is potential for growth. The proximity of Piraeus to major global trade lines passing through the Mediterranean is a perk that operators cannot ignore. The deviation from the main route is 210 nm vis-à-vis 318 nm from Mersin and 120 nm from Gioia Tauro, major competitors in the regional transshipment market. Ports need to catch up Greece as the gateway to the Balkans implies potential markets of 390 bill. €, when considering all regions of East Europe till Slovenia and Hungary, with a core market of 380 bill. € when accounting only directly neighboring countries. These figures are indicative of the potential when considering the max 90 bill. € local market. This market surpassed be capped unless Piraeus improves its logistics performance: international shipments and competence are the main areas of underperformance, as per the Logistics Performance Index of the World Bank. Moreover, Greece lags behind in railway usage, and generally Greek ports need significantly more time than the neighboring ports to release a container for transit. The increased time needed can be attributed to the insuffcient processes, lack of sophisticated IT systems and labor productivity. Surveys also suggest that the total gateway costs are higher than of the local competition. If one carefully reads between the lines, the developments in the maritime cluster of Greece are far from indifferent. The initiatives for clustering aim to address the inefficiencies identified above and some of the problems are already alleviated, such as infrastructure issues, as the local subsidiary of Cosco, PST, has already upgraded and completed the infra- and supra-structure of Terminal 2 and 3, and has already set up the administrative procedures and the grounds for an effcient port zone for logistics activity. In short, the concession of the port is a catalyst 270.0 220.0 170.0 120.0 70.0 21.41 20.58 20.51 DWT No of Vessels av-vessel DWT Age 20.12 19.9 19.14 18.7 18.4 of developments, and both the Chinese and the Greek side are aware and apprehensively make the first steps to tango in the local market. It might not be a marriage of love but of convenience, yet it will attract the interest of all attendees! The analysis turns back to the mighty Greek community of managers and owners of tonnage. As the Chinese involvement in the Greek affairs revolutionized the business ashore, the lack of liquidity in the global markets, the available funding from Chinese financial institutions for newbuildings in China might fuel the growth of the Greek fleet. But the Chinese power does come with a prize: The prize of the long-term relationship that might deem decision-making less flexible. As long as the fleet is reasonably leveraged, the global regulatory framework leveled, and the shore businesses gain in competitiveness, a less thorny way ahead is visible. Author: Orestis Schinas Hamburg School of Business Administration Head of Maritime Business School Greek Fleet Statistics 17.6 16.4 15.92 14.71 14.055 13.25 22 20 18 16 14 12.73 12.19 12 10 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Photo: Felix Selzer HANSA International Maritime Journal – 154. Jahrgang – 2017 – Nr. 4 57

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