Posidonia 2018 Conference Begins
On Monday evening, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras presided over the opening ceremony for Posidonia 2018, one of the world's longest-running maritime trade shows. The conference is bigger than ever: this year, Posidonia will welcome a record 2,000 exhibitors and 22,000 visitors from around the world.
“Greek shipping owns the largest international commercial fleet operating 20 percent of the global [capacity]. This economic activity is responsible for a significant portion of the gross domestic product of Greece," Tsipras said. “The Greek government is investing in infrastructure upgrades required by our shipping industry, while promoting initiatives which support the sector’s expansion in Greece as well as abroad."
European commissioner for transport Violeta Bulc echoed Tsipras' support for the industry. "We have a responsibility to make sure that our shipping sector remains safe, sustainable, competitive that offers many good jobs both on-board and onshore. The EU is your partner all the way through and I hope we will continue working together on this path," she said. "I am certain that Greece’s long maritime tradition and richness of expertise will be an invaluable asset in our joint efforts to navigate the European maritime sector towards more prosperous routes.”
Theodore Veniamis, President of the Union of Greek Shipowners, expressed dissatisfaction with recent regulatory developments in his opening address. "As shipowners, we have no say in the manufacturing of the ships’ engines, nor are we responsible for the quality of the fuels that we have to use. It is obvious that, while the links in the chain of responsibility are many, it has so far proved to be more expedient, at a political level, to solely focus on shipowners, a choice that is misguided and practically ineffective in the end," he said. He added that the EU must make the competitiveness of its maritime sector a top policy priority.
ABS highlights the future of LNG
On the first day of the Posidonia conference, ABS held a panel discussion on the future of LNG shipping and LNG as a marine fuel.
Peter Livanos, chairman of Gaslog, staked out a position in favor of LNG as shipping's main source of energy. “It is inevitable that LNG will be the primary fuel source for marine transport. We need to address the lifecycle of existing assets and bunkering infrastructure which is acting as a brake on adoption, but this should accelerate. The train has left the station and cannot be stopped," he said.
Others highlighted changes in the LNG carrier sector and to the growing global LNG market as a whole. “The LNG shipping business is going through an evolution which is tracking the growth of the commodity and the services around it are becoming commoditized. Natural gas is becoming much more widely appreciated and used; we are in a macro growth trend, it will be one of the main energy sources of the future," said George Procopiou, chairman of Dynacom Tanker Management.
ABS president, CEO and chairman Christopher Wiernicki suggested that data-driven solutions will be a significant part of the sector's future. "Now we have seen a maturing in the rate of technological change and going forward we will see efficiency gains in how companies use data and digital tools to track the performance of their equipment and assets, and this is where the next big gain will be made across all of shipping not just LNG," he said.
Posidonia Games conclude
Posidonia also sponsors athletic competitions as a side event for the conference. This year, 28 amateur soccer teams and 280 players from maritime firms faced off at the Posidonia ShipSoccer Tournament. "We have a lot of clients who participate in the event which is an excellent networking opportunity," said George Paleokrassas of Watson, Farley & Williams.
On Sunday, the fourth Posidonia Golf Tournament attracted 31 teams and 124 golfers to the Glyfada Golf Club, and the Posidonia Running Event brought 1,700 of the shipping industry's best amateur runners together on a 5k course through Piraeus. "I have a full team from Poland as well as Embassy representatives, especially because this year we have the first Polish pavilion at Posidonia," said Polish Ambassador to Greece Anna Barbarzak.