The Forum organized by Navigator Shipping Consultants was held for the 17th consecutive year and proved that it still remains one of the most popular events in the shipping industry worldwide.
The event took place on Friday, November 3rd 2017 at the exceptional floating museum «Hellas Liberty». More than 500 high-ranking officials and executives of the Shipping community, ambassadors from 20 countries, members of the banking sector, representatives of major maritime organizations, academics, students and journalists were present at the NAVIGATOR 2017 - "The Shipping Decision Makers Forum".
Danae Bezantakou, CEO of NAVIGATOR welcomed the participants underlining the significance of this year’s Forum, as it comes back to Piraeus and takes place in the historical floating museum HELLAS LIBERTY.
The President of NAVIGATOR, Capt. Dimitris Bezantakos, during his opening speech stressed that «it is our duty, and especially of the Hellenics, to convey the importance of shipping to students, society and international fora and to defend shipping with vigor, without expediencies and show the respect the shipping deserves.» He also suggested the establishment of an Organisation with the collaboration of IMO, INTERTANKO, BIMCO, INTERCARGO & European Owners Association, that will mediate between P & I Clubs - shipowners and government –individuals who raise claims from the vessels, in the event of any damage to third parties in order to be able to intervene and avoid unnecessary delays and costs for the vessels, discomfort for crews and depreciation or destruction of the cargoes being transported.
The Minister of Maritme Affairs and Insular Policy, Mr. Panagiotis Kourouplis, referred to the country's leading position in shipping, the need for educated mariners and the Ministry's efforts to implement practices, such as mediation and arbitration.
Piraeus’ Mayor, Ioannis Moralis welcomed the Navigator Forum in Piraeus after 17 years and stressed that the future of the country looks towards the sea, as the sectors that we can develop economically are tourism and the big port, Piraeus.
Vassilis Korkidis, President of - PIRAEUS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRY (PCCI) presented Maritime Hellas and the coordinated efforts between the Piraeus Chamber of Commerce, Greek Shipowners' Association and the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping for the establishment of the first Greek Maritime Cluster.
The Ambassador of the United States to Greece, H.E. Geoffrey Pyatt, stressed that he hopes to see increased U.S. investment in Greece, mainly in the fields of energy, infrastructure and industry. The Ambassador referred to the key role that Greece plays in the Balkans and the Mediterranean as a pillar of stability, highlighting his hope that an investment in Syros’ shipyards will be completed soon. He also mentioned that the strategic position of Alexandroupolis’ port is on full display right now: elements of the US Army’s 10th Combat Air Brigade are using it as a staging area for Blackhawk helicopters and cargo demonstrating the potential of that port to play a much bigger role in regional infrastructure and connectivity.
MacGregor the world-leading engineering solutions and services provider for the offshore and marine industries has been supporting NAVIGATOR Forum. The Managing Director, Athena Kanellatou, underlined MacGregor’ s family commitment to serve the Greek shipping miracle, presented sustainable solutions that maximize efficiency and minimize downtime for cargo handling equipment lifecycle. She referred to the latest developments of the group, the involvement in the world’s first floating wind farm, company’s tailor made solutions, the upcoming digital offering and the pilot program for cranes “Macgregor On Watch Scout”. At the end, she presented Cargotec corporations strategy, shaping the future of cargo handling. Smarter cargo flow for a better day.
The first panel, entitled “Ports and Supply Chain” was moderated by Mr. George Xiradakis, Managing Director – XRTC Business Consultants Ltd and President – The Propeller Club (Port of Piraeus). The panel consisted of Sotiris Theofanis, Coordinator & Authorized Representative, DIEP GmbH- Terminal Link SAS– BELTERRA Investments Ltd Consortium, Kostis Achladitis, Managing Director – Golden Cargo, Mary Pothitos, Marine Insurance & Claims Handling Consultant, PARALEGAL MARITIME SERVICES, Sotiris Raptis, Senior Policy Advisor for Environment and Safety, EcoPorts Coordinator – ESPO. The main topic discussed was the room for further development of the supply chain in Greece and the steps that should be followed in order to take full advantage of the country’s significant geostrategic position. A reference to the port of the future was made, focusing on the aspect that by incorporating advanced technological systems, the transportation of commodities to their final destination will be done in zero time.
The second panel entitled “Sustainable Innovation: Challenging Tradition to Create New Opportunities” was moderated by Helena Athoussaki, Head of Maritime Sustainability Centre - PwC and consisted of Jeff Horst, Commercial Director - FOSS MARITIME, Yoong Hui Chia, CEO – ASCENZ SOLUTIONS, Michael Lund, Deputy Secretary General – BIMCO, Dimitrios Mattheou, Managing Director - ARCADIA SHIPMANAGEMENT & Chairman – Green Award Foundation and Hugo Du Mez, Advisor Business Intelligence - Dry Bulk – Port of Rotterdam. The technical panel started with a survey of Norwegian and Greek shipping companies on the digital transformation, revealing its key role for the industry’s future. The panellists presented innovative projects responding to the environmental challenges such as the Carbon Free Project 2050 of the port of Rotterdam and the Tote’s LNG project. All panellists highlighted the importance of digital innovation to operational efficiency, environmental performance, safety and logistics as well as the value creation from data analytics. They also emphasised the significance of supporting innovation and collaboration to create an innovative ecosystem. Finally, audience and panel recognised that shipping companies need to be more open to innovation, better equipped with resources and infrastructure and ready to fundamentally change the way they do business.
H.E. Cristina Liakopulos de Papadikis, Ambassador and General Consul of Panama in Greece, addressed commemorative words regarding the celebration of the 100 years of the Panama Ships Registry and the Independence of Panama from Colombia on 3rd November 1903.
A short presentation regarding Lesvos island also took place by Capt. Gabriel Haldezos, Master Mariner, Diploma in Shipping – Shipping Expert and Dr. Kostas A. Damianidis, Architect, PhD on History of Shipbuilding, as Lesvos was the honored island for this year’s Forum.