The WISTA Hellas 2017 Annual Forum brought key players from the Greek and international shipping community together for an lively panel discussion on the uncertainty dominating the global market at Intercontinental Hotel in Athens on Monday 27 November. More than 300 prominent shipping professionals attended the forum. For the first time, the agenda for the annual gathering included two panel discussions: the first debating the theme: “What are the challenges that may affect the shipping industry?” and moderated by Yannis Perlepes, General Manager of NAFTEMPORIKI Newspaper; and the second featuring panellists discussing “How ship owners cope with the industry challenges ahead?” under the moderation of John Cotzias, President of Hellenic Shipbrokers Association, Projects Finance, Xclusiv Shiprbrokers Inc.
Panagiotis Kouroublis, Minister of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy opened the forum with a video message. The first panel was composed of (in alphabetical order): Stamatis Bourboulis, General Manager, Euronav Ship Management (Hellas) Ltd; John Kokarakis, Technical Manager, Bureau Veritas; Theodore Kontes, Director, Majestic International Cruises; President, Union of Cruise Ship Owners & Associated Members; Hamish Norton, President, Star Bulk Carriers Corp; Christiana Prekezes, Executive Coordinator, Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association – HELMEPA; Kostas Vlachos, Chief Operating Officer, Consolidated Marine Management Inc.
The second panel was composed of (in alphabetical order): Sadan Kaptanoglu Shipping Manager, Kaptanoglu Shipping; Vassilis Mantzavinos, General Manager Greece UniCredit Bank AG; Milena Pappas, Commercial Director, Star Bulk Carriers Corp; Aristides J. Pittas, CEO, Chairman of the Board of EUROSEAS LTD; Valentios “Eddie” Valentis, Chairman and CEO, Pyxis Tankers; Lila Μ. Vergou, Chief Operating Officer, Vergos Marine Management S.A.
Each panelist offered their insight into the forum’s themes and responded to questions about the greatest challenges facing shipping today. Follow-up dialogues by representatives from major market sectors added further to the success of the event leading to an open and impulsive discussion that kept the audience focused till the very end. Issues discussed included global financial instability, maritime training, challenges faced by the maritime sector, new technology onboard the vessels, environmental concerns, automated ships, digitalization, cyber-security, Ballast Water Treatment Convention, climate changes and new investments and financing opportunities in an constantly changing and unpredicted business environment. A wide range of opinions and perspectives were aired, ensuring strong engagement throughout the debate.
In her opening address, WISTA Hellas President Angie Hartmann said: “I would like to thank our members for their active participation to our activities and for making WISTA an industry voice in the Greek Shipping community”. Ms. Hartmann presented to the audience WISTA Hellas and said: “This year also marks the first time that we’ve expanded the agenda of our annual forum with two panel discussions so that more representatives of the shipping industry could express their opinion and have sufficient time to discuss with you”. The President, also thanked on behalf of the Board of Directors the panelists, sponsors, media supporters and supporting organizations.
Closing the forum, Mrs. Hartmann thanked once again the panelists, sponsors, media supporters, supporting organizations and the audience for a constructive and successful event, and invited everyone to a cocktail reception which lasted long into the evening.
A few words about WISTA Hellas
WISTA International is a non-profit organization established in London in 1974 by a group of women brokers involved in the tanker market in order to help and support women working in the shipping industry. Today, WISTA International has about 3000 members in 40 countries worldwide.
WISTA Hellas, a member of WISTA International, is also a non-profit organization that was formed in Greece in 1993 with membership currently exceeding 260 women in top management positions in shipping based in Greece. WISTA Hellas supports the exchange of information and experience in the shipping industry among its members for the facilitation of business development both within and out of the organization. WISTA seeks to empower its members by enhancing competence and for career success through networking and education. In furtherance to these goals and to promote Greek Shipping both domestically and internationally, WISTA organises and hosts a number of seminars, forums and events, featuring experts both from within the country and the international shipping community. (www.wista.net)