Capital Link’s Operational Excellence in Shipping Forum

Events, Conferences,Forums and Symposiums, Markets, Shipmanagement — By on November 2, 2017 at 11:30 PM

Iris Liaskonis

This much awaited event attracting over 600 delegates from all over Planet Ocean and was more than a success as it coincided  with the beginning of this winter’s major international events and given the state of the markets, the state of the world economy and trade it offered the basis of what is yet to come. Iris Liaskonis was there at the spacious Divani Caravel Hotel in central Athens with her camera and reports:

Undoubtedly the improved market sentiment continues and the moves of the main players in the shipping market reveal an amalgam of positive expectations and carefulness and Capital Link brought the role of operational excellence under the spotlight for the 7th consecutive year, revealing useful insights from a wide range of sectors within the industry.

l to r Clay Maitland and Apostolos Poulovassilis – on the screen and …seated…next to them Dimitris Vastarouchas, Dimitrios Fafalios, Bill Box, Tom Boardley

After the welcoming remarks by Nicolas Bornozis, Clay Maitland, Founding Partner of NAMEPA, Chairman of NYMAR and  Managing Partner of International Registries, opened the forum moderating a panel focusing on Industry Challenges and The Road Map Ahead, including geopolitical, regulatory and market developments that affect shipping and the response of the industry to them. The Panel consisted by Apostolos Poulovassilis, CEO  at Aegean Shipping Management, Inc.; Dimitris Vastarouchas, Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Technical Director with Danaos Shipping; Dimitrios Fafalios, Chairman, Technical Committee of INTERCARGO,  Member of the Board of the Union of Greek Shipowners, President and Director at Fafalios Shipping; Bill Box, Senior Manager Commercial, Area Manager Greece and Cyprus, Manager PPS Payment Performance System with  INTERTANKO and Tom Boardley, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Corporate and External Affairs with Lloyd’s Register.

Mr. Maitland started the discussion by highlighting the environmental framework and the implementation of Ballast Water. Apostolos Poulovassilis referred to the current political scenery and talked about the vast volume and high fragmentation in regulations by organizations and the environmental targets that need to be taken to satisfy all of them. The fragmentation puts a challenge in implementation together with increased OPEX and considerable uncertainty, something that needs drawing a strategy of innovation along with efficiency and compliance. Dimitris Vastarouchas pointed out the vital trend of ‘smart shipping’, the current era when digitalization and high-tech marine systems disrupt the scenery and pose challenges for an efficient adaption to them. Human element and proper training to new systems is an urgency, but what really matters is a philosophy centered around one of the four production factors, labor. The way humans will interact with new technologies and regulations is what will create competitive advantage and drive the whole industry to the peak of efficiency under the current conditions, opportunities and restrictions as well. Dimitrios Fafalios referred many times to uncertainty, saying that new regime to operating systems is being created by shipowners to navigate through it by the tool of technology and the relevant technical expertise. There are things we know, things we know we don’t know, and things we don’t know we don’t know, and in whatever category we stand, the actions that we take affect the class to which we will move. He also underlined the role of consistency in enforcement to new regulations. Bill Box, brought to the surface some facts derived from an overview of the years passed. He referred to the numbers in the development of the tanker market – tankers owners are realists, optimists, great learners from the past, and invest as they know that booms are short-lived, so maintaining an advantage in the industry needs investment, needs development, needs active presence. Tom Boardley analyzed the role of expertise and innovation and mentioned some critical facts about the market for new buildings about related environmental regulations. We should work with the regulators, and be always ready to act on time, having secured that we have the capabilities and investment in the human element.

l to r: moderator John Kokarakis, Kostas G. Vlachos – in the screen too.., George Bourtoulis, Frederick J. Kenney, Stavros Hatzigrigoris and RADM Linda Fagan

The second panel continued with John Kokarakis, Vice President, Technology and Business Development, Hellenic, Black Sea Region & Middle East at Bureau Veritas Marine and Offshore Division moderating a panel with Kostas G. Vlachos, Managing Director at Consolidated Marine Management Inc., and COO (Latsco Shipping); George Bourtoulis, Technical Manager at Eurotankers; Frederick J. Kenney, Director of Legal and External Affairs at the International Maritime Organization (IMO); Stavros Hatzigrigoris, Managing Director in Maran Gas Maritime Inc.; RADM Linda Fagan, Deputy Commandant for Operations Policy and Capabilities at the United States Coast Guard, discussing the topic of Environmental Regulation & Compliance and how it may affect Shipping.

Frederick J. Kenney, Director of Legal and External Affairs – International Maritime Organization (IMO), referred to the differences in the establishment of organization’s regulations between the past and the present and the more advanced requirements for an effective adaptive response now. Energy efficiency meaning lower emissions cannot be tackled by shipowners alone – they need the cooperation of the whole industry and stakeholders towards that. Shipping, the means that accounts for the 2/3 of the global transportation, is the perceived as slowly active and driven by financial gains only, and it is our responsibility to do the required steps to change that perception. We also heard about the trends towards LPG and LNG, something which many shipowners are trying to achieve without the proper infrastructure, though. The age of the vessel, the type of the contract, if it is an existing or a new building vessel, as well as the power of the engine and its type, are factors that influence its sustainable efficiency a great deal and they determine whether a scrubber should be installed and the use of retrofits. Ms. Fagan talked about the industry of the US and the adoption of green technologies as well as the investment on them by the United States. She focused on the human element and the role of proper training and expertise, and she mentioned the programs that currently exist in the US. Last, Mr. Vlachos, Bourtoulis, and Hatzigrigoris talked about their companies’ strategies towards Ballast Water Treatment, NOx Emissions Reduction, Sulfur Limits, Greenhouse Gasses, Novel Fuels, Electrical Propulsion and Renewable Energy Sources.

l to r: Ioannis Chiotopoulos, Panos Kourkountis, Stefanos Stylianos, Vasileios Lambropoulos and Socrates Theodosiou

Ioannis Chiotopoulos, Regional Manager South East Europe, and the Middle East – DNV GL moderated the third panel, a hot issue of our era:  Investing in Big Data and Cybersecurity if it is really worth it and whether it will make a difference. Vasileios Lampropoulos, Chief Operating Officer – Thenamaris Ships Management Inc., started the discussion by referring to Thenamaris’ policy, pointing out the tremendous importance of establishing proper collecting and analyzing systems of internal information – info about your own fleet, rather than focusing on external information. Historical information, marketing information, financial information and information coming from comparing the vessels’ performance with the weather conditions are also important are kinds of data that need to be integrated to have a complete picture. The potential of IT management is depended on capital, and proper investment is a key factor of success. Panos Kourkountis, Technical Director – Andriaki Shipping, stated that it is part of the operator’s job to see how far they will go regarding technology. Software for communication, the implementation of new regulations regarding ECDIS and other ongoing developments in ship technology, need to be designed by taking into consideration the threat of cyber attacks and investment. Those all, as well as crew training, are not only responsibilities of the shipowners but also of suppliers, organizations, charterers, regulators, and governments, underlining the role of regulatory bodies in implementing safety practices and procedures. Automating systems of response on the performance of safety will be the future according to him. Stefanos Stylianos, SQ & Marine Manager/DPA – Minerva Marine Inc., pointed out the importance of having a complete and integrated system of data collection from the ship to accurately monitor information, evaluate it and analyze it. That comes with the relevant risk, which we should be aware of. Thus investment on security from cyber attacks and proper training on the big data technologies is essential. According to him, it is a well-defined space the way that information is kept, so in Minerva, they ensure that information is kept safely, and they have frequent back-ups. Regarding the physical risk, they are greatly concerned about it – systems like ECDIS are very vulnerable to this, and they try to ensure that systems of high risk are properly audited to minimize and control to the extent it is possible the dangers. Smart ships will be the future according to him, which means artificial intelligence together with the Internet of Things. Last, Socrates Theodossiou, Chief Executive Officer – Tototheo Maritime Ltd., gave us valuable insights from his side, focusing on cyber attack and the way his company is trying to tackle it. Human experience and knowledge, big data and high-tech are factors that will help companies optimizing the way they work, gaining competitive advantage and differentiating. The panel ended with fascinating slides by Tototheo, showing examples of how technology can ‘steal’ information – by a drown that collects data and starts downloading data –cyber attacks that have affected shipping the recent years and last but not least an impressive video about Sophia, the first robot that became a citizen.

Before the end of the morning session, we also saw the insightful panels focusing on crew management. The first panel, moderated by Theodosis Stamatellos, South Europe Marine and Offshore Manager at  Lloyd’s Register, gave us the opportunity to hear the insights of Capt. Michalis Malliaros, General Manager, EUSG, Fleet Personnel Manager ESMH at Euronav, Ms. Maria Christopoulou, Quality & Training Manager  with Neda Maritime Agency Co. Ltd., Ms. Angie Hartmann, Crew Manager at Starbulk SA and President of WISTA Hellas, Ms. Yanna Laskari, Crew Manager at TMS Dry Ltd., and Capt. Panagiotis Drosos, Managing Director at Tsakos Columbia Shipmanagement, all around the axis of Crew Welfare, Training & Retention. The topics discussed were the role of the human element to new technologies, if there are any gaps between the pace that technology evolves and the adaption of crew behavior to that and the stress that there are if any discrepancies exist. Ship management companies need to become aware of the role that crew plays in the effective implementation of even the highest technology, as machines are created by humans and will be dependent on them. Capt. Malliaros stated to adopt generic models, whereas Ms. Hartman highlighted the importance of connecting with the crew. Investing in the human factor is the number one crucial – the communication with the crew members is like a mother to child communication. Facing problems, bringing crew closer via conferences, parties and business gatherings make them feel loyal to you, needs time and careful listening to their problems. According to her philosophy, it is important to care for them as persons, which means caring for their families, their health, their needs. Ms. Laskari, talked about welfare defined not only concerning monetary incentives but also as a spiritual and mental support. It is essential to feel that somebody is caring about themselves, who are so isolated and far from their families, and that their employer provides the adequate salaries and also the psychological support to give them the feeling of belonging to the company. ‘Take care of your people, and they will take care of your business,’ as the moderator added. Soft skills development, examined by Ms. Christopoulou, are something that cannot be replaced by robots like Sophia from the previous panel and should be a goal of investment by the managing company. In Neda, they have a philosophy oriented to training and a lot of simulators as a vehicle to soft skills training. According to Capt. Maliaros, when it comes to the interaction of the company with the crew manager, we should focus on proper empowerment by the manager, who as a leader, should inspire and give the incentives to their people to move forward, to feel like part of a team with shared goals and vision. Training in combination with culture is what will drive transformation in crew management. Openness, fairness, the total absence of any discrimination, care, development of soft skills and training in new technologies are some of the crucial elements that should exist in a prosperous crew management strategy. Last, training is not enough according to Capt. Drosos, as psychometrics are important and should not be overlooked, a fact on which Ms. Laskari commented that should exist for every employee of the company. Initial and then regular examination, as well as questionnaires and feedback from them, are valuable.

Before the second panel, we saw the interesting presentation of Terence Zhao, President of Singhai Marine Services, on Chinese Crewing Ready for Global Shipping, examining Chinese seafarers under the planned economy, the market economy as well as the reasons for and challenged of the drastic increase of Chinese seafarers in global shipping.

Then the second panel followed on the issue of Optimizing Crew Welfare and Costs and the Impact of Telemedicine on Seafarers and Shipping. The panel was introduced by Nicolas Bornozis and consisted of Costas Th. Ioannides, CEO with Marsh Brokers Ltd., Cyprus; Dr. Periclis Tzardis M.D and Chief Medical Advisor at ShipMedCare Ltd., David Nichol, Senior Loss Prevention Executive (Greece) at Thomas Miller P&I (Europe) Ltd. and Martin Slade, Lecturer, Director of Research at Yale University Occupational & Environmental Medicine, all offering us excellent insightful presentations from their expertise in the industry.

The afternoon sessions kicked off with the panel on Optimizing Technical Ship Management Achieving Synergies, Efficiency & Cost Savings in a Challenging Market Environment moderated by Theo G. Baltatzis, General Manager of Technomar Shipping Inc., who introduced Loukas Kaniaros, Director of Technical and Marine Dry Operations at Chandris Hellas; Andreas Hadjipetrou, Managing Director at Columbia Shipmanagement; Dimitris Orfanos, Chief Operating Officer at Dorian LPG Management Corp.; Danielle Lammens, Maintenance Excellence Manager at Exmar Ship Management NV and George Thanopoulos, Technical Manager Bulk Carriers with Neda Maritime Agency Co.

Optimization could be considered finding alternatives with the most efficiency and cost-effective performance in the designing and implementation process. The attempt to find optimization techniques involves challenges that the panelists discussed. Starting with Ms. Lammens, she explained why the process is complicated nowadays, and she shared with us her perspective from the LNG sector. Contracts and compliance to them are complex and you have to the restrictions of availability – from the side of the shipyards for new buildings, as well as the availability of variables in the maintenance function. Mr. Hadjipetrou referred to compliance restrictions in order to optimize your performance as well as to the differences between shipowners’ needs; you need to follow customized plans, case by case. Mr. Karniaros talked about the constraints, internally and externally, as well the importance of taking advantage of the innovations in the market – all of them being essential factors to be considered. You need to compare the desired and actual performance, and they follow measurement procedures to monitor results. Achieving optimization for a VLCC and a Capesize obviously is not the same thing – you need to take advantage of real-time data collecting systems and analyze that data by specific goals set according to the needs in each case. Mr. Orfanos pointed out that technology may give many options and the possibility to add value but hides challenges that are not always obvious. Another problem is quantifying the cost, as this is sometimes vaguer and relative. Mr. Karniaros also stated that improvement of speed, reducing emissions, and other aims need to be integrated into a strategy focused on reliability, credibility, and reputation of the people involved. To establish high performance, you need to develop sound maintenance systems which are based on the training of your people.

The moderator brought to light the technological developments and how they affect performance. Mr. Hadjipetrou talked about data collection, IT systems, and sustainable innovation which again, are much dependent on continuous technical training and investment not only on the people that handle systems on board but also in the office so as to exploit the innovation to the fullest extent. Mr. Karniaros highlighted the real-time data collection techniques that are extremely important and to the software available; things that affect the daily costs and daily performance a big deal. However, the real challenge for him is whether companies should have in-house people responsible for IT management or outsource it. Ms. Lammens focused on the people on board who need to be involved in every technology adopted and their proper training, as nothing can be done unless machines and the humans handling them are in tune – something that Mr. Orfanos commented as well, focusing on the people in the office. All the panelists agreed about defining specific KPIs and following an internal benchmarking procedure. There is the tendency to be based on external data; however, this process can drive us away from the real needs and goals of each company. Mr. Hadjipetrou claimed that internal benchmarking is a continuous learning process for every person involved, whereas Mr. Thanopoulos referred to the unknown unknowns that need to be considered in each scenario, which can only be tackled if we prepare our people to confront the challenges that may occur by proper training. Ms. Lammens commented that we need to efficiently establish predictive mechanisms and data-driven maintenance systems to monitor, design and project future results.

Moving forward, we heard Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou, Chief Executive Officer – Tototheo Maritime Ltd, on Connecting Ports, Vessels & People. Points included were Big Data as a tool to connect not only ports, vessels and people, but also past, present and future performance and results. Technology has created a commercial industry focused on efficiency, defined as the right decisions, based on the right actions by the right people at the right time. Ensuring the people have the capabilities and expertise to handle high-end technologies is more than essential. Autonomous vessels are highly dependent on human knowledge on the technology involved. Safety measures that need to be beard in mind are mechanisms of cybersecurity and information transparency, all of them used as compasses through the vast amount of the information we are exposed to every day. Collaboration between ports, vessels, and people involved is not an option but a need if we want to achieve efficiency and safety. Taking examples from the aviation industry, we see the enormous benefits of collective decision making, which has been reducing the accidents and help the smooth daily operations. Thus, good communication and collectiveness in deciding, designing, implementing and monitoring is a means to reduce risks, enhance effectiveness and achieve leadership.

l to r: Michalis Pantazopoulos, Panos Zachariadis, Stavros Meidanis, Theofanis Sallis, Stylianos Siafakas  and Dimitris Patrikios

What followed was the panel of Ship Safety – Regulatory Compliance & Third Party Inspections, moderated by Dr. Michalis Pantazopoulos, Managing Director of the Liberian Registry – LISCR (Hellas) S.A. and hosting Panos Zachariadis, Technical Director at Atlantic Bulk Carriers Management Ltd.; Stavros Meidanis, DPA/CSO, S&Q Manager at Capital Ship Management Corp.; Theofanis Sallis, General Manager, Operations with  GasLog Ltd.; Stylianos I. Siafakas, Chief Executive Officer at Dromon Maritime Inc.; Dimitris E. Patrikios, Chief Operating Officer at Springfield Shipping Co. (Onassis Group).
Things discussed were the human factor’s role in regulatory compliance and what is considered a good practice to ensure safety. Factors in that equation such as detection analysis, port state controls, casual investigations and analysis, active participation in international organizations such as IMO are essential and shared with all the participants of the panel, giving different weight to each of them, though. Sometimes shipyards’ interests do not agree with IMO’s regulations like the issues of safety and ATI, the former being related to slow ballast rates and loading of the ships. Stakeholders are many and their goals diverse, and most of the times those people have different approaches. Mr. Sallis discussed the complexity that exists from the operational point of view, due challenges such as port state controls, who are the auditors of the regulations. Therefore a good communication channel with them as well as with the regulatory bodies is imperative. When it comes to operation performance, operators should act pro-actively and take into consideration all factors in the equation. Mr. Patrikios, referring to an experience he had in a ship’s inspection, highlighted the importance of professionalism to comply with all the regulations. We should have very well organized management systems in order to prepare the operations and very skilled people on board. He sees that all the regulations improve the way they work and they help them go to the right direction. Mr. Zachariadis opinion on third parties’ inspections was clear: they need to be different for each type of vessel, something that unfortunately is not considered when guidelines are defined. The environmental index and the charterers’ index is not enough to measure efficiency, and recently we saw changes in quality monitoring that a tendency to lower the safety record to the ship so they can sell vetting in the order they can increase star rating. Those techniques cannot take place anymore. The moderator, Mr. Pantazopoulos agreed, as complying with the regulations is a reactive approach is not a pro-active one. Mr. Siafakas, talked about the reasons that there are many criteria for measuring safety, and those are the needs and stakeholders’ interests, the latter not showing understanding to the reasons for the regulatory bodies’ new measures. A factor which was discussed in extent before the end of the panel was the human factor and how does it affect inspections. Mr. Patrikios, being aware of its essential role, underlined the need to ensure that people involved are very well-educated and well-trained – it is a shipping companies’ responsibility to ensure they have the right people to do the job and that they make the proper investment in their people. Safety culture is a keyword – and it is significantly dependent on each era and each party involved. The definition of how and why each action is regarding, and each result – positive or negative – has been occurred, depends on the people who examine those issues. Commitment is another keyword – starting from the people in the office and going on to the people on board. We need to work together more, as Mr. Pantazopoulos suggested; at the end of the day, the aim is one and only: a better life as a result of the way we work.

Before the last panel, we saw an innovative presentation by Stephen Cooper, CEO at Fourth Insurance Office, Inc. and Tyler Schapiro, Senior Analyst at Fourth Insurance Office, Inc. on Digital Kidnap and Ransom: The Financial Response to 21st Century Piracy. The increasing incidents of cyber attack during the recent years concerning cyber premiums is interesting. As incidents become more technologically advanced, the damaging result to the company is increasing as well. Behavioral economists say that cybercrime is a rational economic response to specific objectives driven by profit. Negligence is predictable and avoidable but profit and ideology ore obstacles to be overcome. Piracy and kidnapping is something that is continuously being fed, and the biggest problem might be storing and accessing data. Related to maritime industry, an example is what had been said in 2014 by a person working in the container line sector, “we consider cyber risk a threat, but vessels are no more vulnerable to such attacks than onshore systems and organizations, we are taking this risk seriously and ensuring that we are protected against such threats.” In 2017, after a very severe malware incident, the same company said, “antivirus programs were not effective protection, and we are installing different and further protective measures.” So, what we think it is sufficient is probably not, as the threats are multiplying with the passing of years and the amount and the ways we access information. Related to the cost, this is defined by many factors. But first of all, they established a specific process in financially responding to cyber attacks: Assessing the chances, Calculating loss scenarios, Investigating embedded cyber coverage, Identifying gaps, Considering the range of loss you could absorb and last, Evaluating whether or not there is value in transferring risk. Maritime industries will not face material liabilities from the unauthorized release of customer lists; they will face liabilities resulting from physical loss, bodily injury, and business interruption. The presentation ended by referring to the sectors that should have Cyber Coverage (P&I, Crime, Hull, Business Property and D&O), and the three types of the cyber dangers: Cyber Attack (computer system, computer software programme, malicious code, computer virus or process or any other electronic system), War and Terrorism actions (war, invasion, acts of foreign enemies, hostilities) and Electonic Data (loss, damage, destruction, distortion, erasure, corruption or alteration of electronic data including computer virus).

The final panel came on stage: Operational Excellence as a Competitive Advantage – How the commitment to Best Industry Practices across all areas of operations is a differentiating factor and a competitive advantage. We had the pleasure to hear the final insights and remarks by George Ousantzopoulos, Head of Safety/Vetting at Almi Tankers, Marcos Vassilikos, Managing Director of Eurobulk, George Kouleris, Technical Director at Prime Marine Management and Lambros Babilis, Chief Executive Officer at Stealth Maritime Corporation S.A., moderated by George Teriakidis, Regional Business Development Manager at DNV GL.
Mr. Ousantzopoulos started with a presentation on the benefits of Operational Excellence and its cost to evaluate whether it is worth to invest on it. Key points were Culture – if and how people understand and share it, as this is a defining factor of strategy, Leadership and the way it can add value to the organization and Collective Participation. Experts outside the organizations were once coming to solve a problem, and then to improve systems as problems were solved in-house. Now, we see the tendency of everyone enhancing whole systems. Mr Vassilikos from his side, examined the best industry practices in the Dry Sector with regards to organizations such as BIMCO, Intercargo, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), Vetting Companies – Rightship Requirements, P&I Club recommendations, ISO Codes and SOX Code. All focusing on ‘Crew and Vessels’ Safety, Hygiene, Cargo Protection, 3rd Party Property Protection, Quality Management, Environmental Protection, Occupational Health and Safety, Environmental Performance, Corporate Governance and Transparency’. He defined specific sectors that need KPIs to monitor performance and those sectors are ‘Health and Safety, HR Management, Environmental, Navigational Safety, Operational, Security, and Technical.’ KPIs are important as they set targets and help implementation by reduction of cost through more efficient fleet management and obtaining lower insurance premiums through transparency and lower loss records. As they say “what cannot be measured doesn’t exist”. However, realistic expectations are essential, so he defined what cannot be done which according to his presentation are ‘Improvement of relationship with Charterers, Upgrading of mortgagee banks’ confidence, Enhancement of investors’ confidence, Easier and more effective environmental compliance and Easier transition to future regulatory compliance.’

After the presentation, the discussion followed when we heard the opinion of Mr. Kouleris from the perspective of the tanker industry. In this industry, we need real believers, companies that are pro-active and not re-active and that can offer good quality tonnage and reliability. We also need to show a consistent approach to all functions involved. Of course, tankers are more complicated, but if one compares the loss of life between accidents by dry and tankers, we see more cases in bulkers. Mr. Babilis talked about the role of culture to achieve operational excellence, high performance and efficiency, stating how important is to make everyone feel proud of their achievements in the company and sharing the same vision for the company’s development. In this way job satisfaction is increased, the moral is raised as well, so job performance and efficiency are acquired. Excellent is not a plateau that we reach and stop – it is a continuous strive for achievements and this strive should come by all. If this vision and practice are shared, we can achieve outstanding benchmarks: protecting the company from regulatory challenges, providing legal compliance, comforting to existing clients, suppliers, contractors, stakeholders and attracting high-quality candidates for employment. Last, he ended by underlining the importance of quantifying the aims and the results achieved.

The forum closed with the award presentation – the introductory remarks of Panagiotis Laskaridis, President of European Community Shipowners Associations and CEO of Lavinia Corporation/Laskaridis Shipping Co. Ltd., honoring John Platsidakis, Chairman of Intercargo and Managing Director of Anangel Maritime Services, Inc.,  for his remarkable contribution to the industry. Mr Laskaridis talked about the importance to face problems collectively and trust our business intuition as shipowners when it comes to excellence in industry practices. Issues he raised were ship recycling, referring to Hong Kong Convention, regulations, greenhouse gases and CO2 emissions as well as financing. He also mentioned how important is to see each of the things discussed in the context of European shipping policies. In particular, in the context of the European Permission of Transport, about the environmental, regulation and compliance aspects, as every individual practice is depended on them, but also a fourth aspect, the competitiveness of the European fleet among the others of the world, a fundamental goal to keep in mind. At the top of the challenges is digitalization of shipping, which will remain the issue for at least 13 more years. The European stakeholders and the non-for-profit organizations will remain essential influencers of decision making in the industry. To finish, he suggested continuous thinking of the way the industries practice and specifically thinking out of the box. Questioning and creatively disrupting the scenery, challenging the way things currently work and bringing in innovative ideas – what our industry and world in general needs to move forward. Honoring Mr. Platsidakis’ road, we heard a brief introduction to his admirable route, which begins with his studies in maths, continuing by two degrees in LSE and Southampton and an outstanding professional life. Apart from growing the fleet and managing it masterfully, he has produced an extremely inspiring work for the whole industry. Mr. Platsidakis put the curtain to the forum, by an overview of the things discussed, pointing out quality, transparency and high standards in shipping as something that affects the whole society. Excellence in performance and integrity are qualities of tremendous importance, which they share in Anangel together with strong values that run through the company’s spirit such as the focus on the human element. His touching and inspiring speech ended by sharing his award with his people and his family.

As always, a cocktail reception followed sponsored by NYMAR were networking was the name of the game.

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