Posted on: 17 July 2023
The 7th Greek-British Shipping Forum, organised by Maritime London in partnership with the British Embassy in Athens and the UK Department for Business & Trade, was held on June 20th at the Marine Club in Piraeus this year, consisting of a seminar and a networking evening reception.
Opening the event, HE British Ambassador to Greece Matthew Lodge welcomed the esteemed audience of Greek shipowners, he said: “The strong partnership between the UK’s maritime services cluster and the Greek shipping industry, which controls the world’s largest merchant fleet, accounting for 21% of the global carrying capacity, is very important to us.”
“Our two nations have a proud seafaring history and tradition… Despite the challenges over the last few years – ranging from the new regulations against global warming to the war in Ukraine – the shipping industry has demonstrated its remarkable capability to adjust to a changing and volatile international environment.”
Maritime London’s Chief Executive Jos Standerwick thanked the Ambassador and the Marine Club for hosting the event, handing the podium over to Chris Barton, Trade Commissioner for Europe, at the Department for Business & Trade and Sotiris Leontaris, Head of the commercial section, at the British Embassy in Athens. They discussed the UK Government’s vision and priorities, how the UK and the EU trade relations were evolving since the Trade and Cooperation agreement was signed in December 2021, and where and how the UK could assist Greek shipowners looking to modernise their fleets by investing in greener options.
Burak Cetinok, Head of Research at Arrow Shipbrokers, delivered a presentation looking at the current state and future prospects for the dry and the wet bulk shipping markets.
The audience then listened to a panel of expert speakers, moderated by Gordon Robertson, Head of Greece at NorthStandard, discuss practical considerations and commercial realities of the incoming EU ETS regulation. The Baltic Exchange’s CEO Mark Jackson, HFW’s Senior Associate Constantinos Bitounis and Theo Kourmpelis, Strategic Business Partner at Lloyd’s Register, talked about the mechanics behind EU ETC, touching on CII as well, and how shipowners and charterers could gain a competitive advantage to understanding the commercial dynamics.
David Evans, Partner, International Tax & Transaction Services at EY LLP drew attention to an increasing need for tax transparency and potential implications for global shipping arising from the ’global minimum tax’ in his presentation.
Sarah Leonard, Head of UK Shipping Concierge and Senior Account Manager Graham Candy outlined in a brief presentation how the services the Concierge provides can support shipping businesses operating in or relocating to the UK.
The conversation then moved to what finance options are available to Greek shipowners. The panel, moderated by Athens Correspondent of Lloyd’s List Nigel Lowry and consisting of Stephenson Harwood’s Partner Dora Mace-Kokota, Braemar’s Head of Corporate Finance in Greece Stefanos Fragos, Elias Sakelis, CEO of Australis Maritime and Partner & CIO of Borealis Maritime, and George Xiradakis in his role as President of the Association of Banking & Financial Executives of Hellenic Shipping, discussed how ship financiers are making investment decisions in strong shipping markets against the backdrop of regulatory challenges and macro-economic uncertainties.
The seminar concluded with a presentation by Siiri Duddington, Partner at law firm Hill Dickinson, who focused her talk on how to prove sanctions compliance, emphasising the importance of thorough understanding of attestation processes what is now an increasingly complex sanctions landscape.