Greek marine equipment markers and their growing list of Greek shipowner clients are to work together to promote ships' equipment developed and manufactured in Greece.
Though the two have been cooperating for sometime, the Hellenic Marine Equipment Manufacturers & Exporters (Hemexpo) and Greece's powerful Marine Technical Managers Association (Martecma) are to formally create a working group to promote their joint activities.
Ellen Polychronopoulou, president of Hemexpo revealed the formal cooperation at the 'Support the Local Maritime Industry Summit' in Athens March 28. She said under the agreement Hemexpo will attend Martecma meetings and visa versa. At the same time a number of leading Greek shipowners, through Martecma, are going to push for Asian and European shipbuilders 'makers lists' "to become as detailed as possible" and they insist this should include Greek manufacturers.
Indeed, Martecma chairman, Stavros Hatzigrigoris, md of the Angelicoussis group's Maran Gas Maritime, is adamant Greek makers produce "important equipment items which should be made available to owners contracting newbuildings". He also hoped that one day soon a newbuilding contract would be signed at the same time as one specifying what equipment is to go onboard rather than as is now the case now where two rounds of negotiating are involved first the building contract and then one involving the equipment.
Vassilis Papageorgiou, vice chairman of the Tsakos Group agrees, saying many of the items that are manufactured in the shipbuilders' home marketplace and are going on new ships are not as competitive or up to the standard of Greek made products and quickly have to be replaced. Both Tsakos and Angelicoussis are working with Greek manufacturers as are over 20 major Greek owners which regularly appear on Greek company client reference lists.
Organised by Naftiliaki / Newsfront the summit at the Metropolitan Hotel, was attended by over 100 delegates from 61 companies and organizations as well as government officials from the Foreign Affairs and
Shipping and Island Policy ministries and brought together member companies of Hemexpo and the technical directors of Greek shipping companies through their association Martecma for an extremely fruitful exchange of ideas how each can benefit from a closer cooperation.
The event under the auspices of Martecma,and chaired by John Kokarakis, vp technology and business development marine and offshore, Bureau Veritas, featured presentations by shipping executives, Hatzigrigoris, Papageorgiou, Apostolos Skempes, Arcadia Shipmanagement, Polychronopoulou and Hemexpo members, D. Koronakis SA, Aluminox SA, FARAD SA, FEAC Engineering PC, Kleemann SA, SELMA Ship Electric Marine Control, Prisma Electronics SA, Psyctotherm, Raycap SA, SeaBright, NanoPhos SA and Erma First ESK Engineering Solutions which presented their company's products and achievements in the international equipment makers' marketplace.
These achievements have been considerable, as Papageorgiou noted established South Korean makers, for example, "are under pressure because of the difficulties facing shipyards and as a result are making it extremely difficult for makers outside the home marketplace".
He told the summit, said "owners have to support Hemexpo to expand its presence in the international marketplace", but warned, "it's easier to gain
a named than keep it". He said Greek makers must "find representatives in countries building ships, rather than depend on agents". Costamare Shipping's director, Dimitris Tsalapatis, a veteran in the international world of marine equipment manufacturers, warned Hemexpo that after sales service is the top priority. He also said the Greeks have to knock on doors not only in Asia and but also in Europe, noting "many in the
shipping market watch what the Greeks are doing". He said "for example Norwegians appreciate the Greeks and Greek shipping".
Shipping company delegates generally agreed with Hatzigrigoris, Papageorgiou and Kokarakis, that makers have to be ready to take advantage of the pick-up in ship newbuilding orders, with Hatzigrigoris saying "the world fleet has to be renewed". Papageorgiou said new fuel and environmental demands will "see shipbuilding boom again because many ships will be demolished".
Company presentations illustrated the Greek makers are in a position to compete head-on with international makers. Indeed, one of the companies has an annual turnovers of over $116m, with over 90% coming from exports.
All the companies reported the great bulk of their sales are for export, leading Kokarakis to comment, “the quality of the equipment is high, it’s just a pity a country like Greece does not have a major shipyard activity”.
Several of the companies, among them D. Koronakis SA, Aluminox SA, Prisma Electronics SA, Psyctotherm, Raycap, SeaBright and NanoPhos SA, are not only developing new products for the shipping industry, they are unique, including non-snap back (recoiling) ropes and self healing coatings.
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