MEDITERRANEAN HUBS Market Report 2022
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The cities driving maritime growth Athens, Genoa, Limassol, Marseille and Monaco in the spotlight
THE LINEUP 3 Editor’s Comment 4 Athens 11 Software 14 Genoa 20 Limassol 28 Marseille 34 Monaco 43 & 44 Opinion
We want to improve the connection between ports, road networks, railways, in order to face competition from other Mediterranean and northern European ports
— Mario Draghi
Marseille is a laboratory of the republic
— Emmanuel Macron
We must engage all stakeholders in a dialogue to better understand the issues that link the seas and humanity — Prince Albert II of Monaco
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Changing hub ingredients
elcome to this special magazine, timed to coincide with Posidonia, which we are delighted to be sponsoring once again this year. We’ve identified our five top Mediterranean hubs by taking an average ranking from the various global shipping centre surveys conducted regularly by the likes of DNV, the Baltic Exchange and Xinhua. Nevertheless, it is hard to look at this list and wonder about the places that failed to make the grade - it seems incredible, for instance, that there is no Spanish city here. As to what makes a hub, do check out our Opinion page at the back of the magazine. In compiling our hub profiles, we’ve looked at each city from a shipowner’s perspective - what makes it attractive in terms of local policies, how its services scene is developing and the city’s state of tech while looking at each port as well. The raw ingredients that make a maritime centre in the 21st century are fast changing - to the point, where if we were to revisit this topic in five years there could be a raft of different names identified. Traditional powerhouse hubs are having to contend with many clever upstarts. Locations which continue to build on their strengths, are able to communicate a clear vision for the future and diversify beyond the physical port hub will be the ones who are able to succeed in the future.
To truly create a thriving marine cluster, local governments need to engage everyone from the cargo owners to the shipowners, service providers, financiers, and so on, and extend their support and investment in a holistic way given the interdependent relationships within this ecosystem. Shipping votes on its feet more and more - happy to relocate to where suits its needs the best. To be a hub today requires authorities to listen, we hope this magazine serves as a useful listening post.
Sam Chambers Editor Splash
powerhouse hubs are having to “ Traditional contend with many clever upstarts ” www.splash247.com 3
A+ for Athens The Greek capital’s maritime report card is compelling
hen it comes to determining which Mediterranean maritime hubs and cities have the best infrastructure, finance, and world-class talent, Athens has to form a plank of the conversation. For a long time, Athens has been one of the most important worldwide shipping hubs, and it will likely continue to be so in the foreseeable future. Despite the fact that Europe’s share of the global fleet is shrinking as more and more shipping operations move to Asian maritime centres, Athens remains an exception. In comparison to other European cities, the capital and largest city of Greece has seen a different development since 2019, with fleet ownership and shipmanagement levels in terms of tonnage increasing by roughly 20%. Athens ranks top, both in terms of shipowners’ and managers’ operating tonnage, at about 105m and 111m compensated gross tonnage (cgt), respectively, based on Clarksons Research and Menon Economics data. The number of shipping companies with more than five ships located in Athens has been estimated at over 220, the majority of which are family-owned small enterprises. The city’s strengths predominantly lie in its vast shipowning circle, with Greek owners having played a key role in the industry for decades. Athens - and neighbouring Piraeus - are home to the world’s largest fleet and have a strong ownership position with more than 700 owners located both in Athens and around the world. Its maritime cluster also serves this community, providing first-rate shipping services such as shipping operations, technical and crew management, and employing qualified local talent. “The city’s strong shipowning community is a unique part of Athens’ identity, with its abundance of highly experienced shipping professionals making it one of the most competitive and influential maritime hubs worldwide,” reckons Mike Konstantinidis, the CEO of Greece’s METIS Cyberspace Technology. The number of maritime education institutions found in a city, including dedicated academies and universities offering courses catering to the maritime sector, is a good indicator to assess a city’s learning culture and the level of the skillset of its graduates. With 13 maritime-
related institutions and training facilities, Athens ranks third behind London and Rotterdam. The Piraeus/Athens maritime community network includes a few thousand well-educated professionals with experience in various maritime domains and subjects. The community is backed up by well-known naval academies and the Piraeus University. “It is worth mentioning that when you create an advertisement for a maritime professional in Greece within hours you receive hundreds of applications from well-educated experienced professionals in all maritime subjects such as naval architects, engineers, financiers, lawyers, seafarers, etc,” points out Marina Tzoutzouraki, CFO and co-founder of eShipfinance.com. Greece’s shipping tycoons emerged largely unscathed from the country’s financial crisis and one of the shipping industry’s longest downturns in the 2010s. Even though many Greek shipowners operate from other cities, the shipowning environment remains strong today. For Nicholas Georgiou, CEO of Lomar Shipping, part of the Libra Group, the city’s legendary maritime status can be traced back over centuries – thanks in no small part to its geographic location
within Europe and the mid-point axis between Asia and the Americas, its weather, natural harbour facilities and much more. These physical advantages are bolstered today by the financial investment in maritime infrastructure facilities, backed in no small part by the powerful leadership of Greek shipowning and union groups. Also from the owner’s perspective, Harry Vafias, president and CEO of StealthGas, reckons it’s always nicer to work under a sunny sky rather than clouds, cold and rain, something that draws a huge variety of shipbrokers, financiers, insurers, spare part suppliers, agents, repair teams and shipping lawyers that represent its unique advantage as an international maritime hub. “There is simply more money, more ships, more owners, more history, more awareness of shipping, more technical and operational expertise, more shipping services of all types, more shipping education, and all the other things that feed off the Athens/Piraeus maritime cluster hub here than in anywhere else in Europe, and indeed the world,” encapsulates Simon Ward, director at Piraeus-based Ursa Shipbrokers, indicating that part of the city’s success story is leaving shipping alone to do its own thing.
is simply more awareness of shipping here “ There than in anywhere else in Europe”
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Keen to do more Public and private bodies are joining forces to promote Athens and Piraeus on the international maritime stage
n terms of how the local authorities are actually involved and what are they doing to bolster the city’s maritime credentials, Marina Tzoutzouraki, CFO and co-founder of eShipfinance.com, asserts the current government has been supporting the revival of Hellenic Shipyards as well as the Skaramangas repair area, while the municipality and maritime cluster are funding and creating the right ecosystem for tech start-ups in the sector. Antonios Venieris, president of the International Maritime Union in Greece (IMU), observes a more entrepreneurfriendly environment in the last few years, with both local as well as national authorities focusing more on the digitalisation of various services and functions that are used daily from companies, shortening the “infamous” Greek bureaucracy. “Even on the infrastructure side, the connectivity of the port of Piraeus to the Athens Metro subway system by the end of 2022, the complete revamp of the fibre internet network in the vicinity of Piraeus together with the Piraeus Tower commercial and residential project, show a tendency of change and much-needed upgrade,” he says. StealthGas supremo Harry Vafias reckons the local authorities have understood the importance of shipping to the Greek economy and are making efforts to attract even more shipping-
related companies. “Tax incentives are a very important magnet for companies as is a more competitive Greek flag,” he claims but suggests that more could be done on the promotion and evolution of Greek-based arbitration to match and compete with what London offers. Nicholas Georgiou, CEO of Lomar Shipping, finds that like Singapore in Asia, Athens has maximised the benefits of geography, natural coastline, climate and more, supplanting those ecological advantages with the infrastructure and skills needed to support a complete cluster of maritime industry sectors. While there is always more to be done, he believes Athens has the ability, the skill-set and the need to continue to evolve and compete on a global stage. For him, this is not only true of commercial shipping but also of the ferry, cruise, shipyard/MRO, marina facilities and other maritime interests as together they underpin the entire maritime sector while also supporting the tourism and hospitality segments that are vital to the GDP of Athens and of Greece as a whole. In addition to a local boost, the entry of China’s Cosco in Piraeus port during the most difficult moments for the Greek economy has produced some impressive results, boosting its financial performance, deepening the country’s role in global sea transportation, and, perhaps most importantly, uplifting Greek trade.
According to Cosco, the group has offered more than 3,000 direct jobs to the local community and more than 10,000 jobs in related services. IMU’s Venieris reckons Piraeus should seize the opportunity to become a place that can grab the attention of international shipping and to offer perks and added value that will be a decisive factor for expanding or establishing daily operations in the port city now that the traditional maritime services hub of London is out of the European Union. The recent establishment of Maritime Hellas, a joint effort of the Union of Greek Shipowners together with the Marine Chamber of Greece and the Piraeus Commercial and Industry Chamber, is a step forward in this direction. “This joint effort is acting as a maritime cluster paving the way for its transformation to a truly international cluster that will be able to offer highquality services of lawyers, brokers, advisors, agencies, highly skilled office personnel and shipyard facilities in the nearby Elefsis and Skaramangas area, research and development centres in the universities and maritime institutes,” Venieris explains. He notes that while a lot still needs to be done, there is a clear will from the Greek state and the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy to assist and promote such efforts.
Start-up hotbed The Greek capital can boast some of shipping’s best-known tech brands
veryone, from shipowners and charterers to cargo owners and lenders, is preparing for a lowcarbon future, with the widespread adoption of zero-carbon fuels expected over the next decade. In support of this transition, ongoing digitalisation, including ports and the supply chain, will drive efficiency. Maritime cities and clusters will play a leading role in the green shift, with new business models driving the transition, as they develop unique strategies to deal with these global transformations. Cities compete to attract the best tech start-ups and the most talented people in today’s world, particularly in the maritime industry. In terms of how Athens is evolving as a breeding ground for groundbreaking innovations supported by cutting-edge technologies that are set to transform shipping, industry experts suggest the city is and will continue to be one of the leading maritime centres in the world. With the support of the Hellenic Shipping Chamber and the Chamber of Commerce of Piraeus in cooperation with the maritime cluster, the municipality, and Piraeus University there are competitions and investments by funds and shipping companies to maritime tech start-ups that have successfully been operating for some years in Athens and Piraeus, thereby
attracting more interest with the goal of leveraging the vast wealth of experience and knowledge from the existing maritime market. Mike Konstantinidis, CEO of Greece’s METIS Cyberspace Technology, claims the Greek start-up scene is vibrant and thriving, and all the signs suggest that it will continue to flourish in the years ahead. “Given the importance of the local shipping ecosystem, we are certain to see some highly promising maritime technology-focused initiatives attracting worldwide interest in the near future. I am confident that the leading reputation of the Greek shipping community will soon be accompanied by more widespread awareness of the local technology sector,” he asserts. Simon Ward from Ursa Shipbrokers also sees many tech start-ups in Athens tied into the actual ships and the business of shipping. “It is true innovation rather than top-down or tech-driven only. They realise that tech is a tool, not an end in itself,” he says. Harry Vafias, CEO of StealthGas, says most shipowners are generally conservative old-styled businessmen but they are slowly realising that they have to embrace technology in order to compete internationally. “We have seen lately more and more Greek start-ups making their first rounds around Athens.
The city is also giving grants for small revolutionary start-ups which also seems to help,” Vafias tells Splash. Sustainability has long been on the radar of the maritime community, driven by a desire to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint, and digital technologies can play a critical role in assisting the sector in meeting the International Maritime Organization’s looming milestone deadlines. This year’s international shipping exhibition Posidonia is expected to see a huge number of tech start-ups from around the world to showcase their solutions and platforms. “The success of Posidonia demonstrates the interest and potential for both Athens and Greece – attracting as it does a worldwide audience for business discussions and networking,” says Nicholas Georgiou, the CEO of Lomar Shipping. He stresses that Athens has to continue to innovate with new technologies and services – not only to maintain a competitive edge but also to retain its best and brightest people. Despite being based in the UK, Lomar has together with Libra, supported community interests through its internship and mentoring programmes, and is looking to invest directly in tech start-ups.
Posidonia 6 -10 June 2022
Metropolitan Expo, Athens Greece
China’s top Med destination Under the control of Cosco since 2009, Piraeus has become the Mediterranean’s top port
ituated on the Saronic Gulf on the western coasts of the Aegean Sea, a strategic jewel for nearly 2,500 years the Port of Piraeus is the largest port in Greece as well as one of the largest in Europe. Also called the port of three continents, Piraeus sits at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa, being the natural port of Athens and Greece’s main gateway and one of the busiest ports in the Mediterranean. It is the first European westbound port after crossing the Suez Canal with the suitable infrastructure to serve international trade and landside transportation. Piraeus is one of the oldest seaports in the Mediterranean. It reached the pinnacle of its glory in the fifth century BC as the port of the city of Athens and was the commercial centre of the then-known world. Today, it is the leading port in Europe in terms of passenger traffic, but also the main port connecting most islands with the mainland. “Owing to the geography of Greece with hundreds of islands, Piraeus is a major ferry market and is quickly becoming a favorable cruise port too with berthing being possible in the port because of its depth. Also recently reopening yards with the support of the current government,” remarks Marina Tzoutzouraki, CFO and
co-founder of eShipfinance.com. Piraeus has become a major transhipment hub for goods destined for Mediterranean and Black Sea ports since China’s Cosco took over its container operations in 2009 and upgraded its infrastructure. Cosco acquired the majority of Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) shares in 2016 after an international tender, and the Port of Piraeus has since become one of the most critical links in Beijing’s landmark Belt and Road Initiative – also known as the New Silk Road – that connects Asia, Africa, and Europe. In just a few years, the port has grown to be one of the fastest-growing in the world as well as the leading port in the Mediterranean in terms of container transport. Today it is switching places with Spain’s Valencia port as the top Mediterranean port in terms of teu handling. Meanwhile, it is one of the largest ports in Europe with integrated business encompassing many activities such as the cruise terminal, ferry terminal and car terminal business, all of which contribute significantly to the local economy and industry. As of 2021, Cosco has made investments exceeding €1bn, including €600m for the construction of Pier 2 and Pier 3, leading to an impressive capacity increase reaching annual container
handling of well over 7.2m teu. The ultimate goal is to reach a container throughput of 10m teu so as to become the largest and most efficient logistics hub in Central and Eastern Europe. Activities of the PPA continue on an upward trend in all segments. The company, founded in 1930, last year recorded its highest ever profit of around $40m with an annual turnover of close to $170m. Further investments are planned as part of the Cosco privatisation deal, including the expansion of an existing cruise terminal. The scheme still needs to be approved as Greece’s top administrative court in March ruled that approval by the authorities was deficient and had to be amended.
Visiting? ∙ STAY Astir Palace ∙ EAT Jimmy’s Fish ∙ DRINK A for Athens ∙ VISIT Monastiraki flea market
Hub reshaping to drive national growth Genoa is being overhauled to become a true 21st century port city
he tragic collapse of the Morandi viaduct four years ago severely impacted the economy and logistics infrastructure of both Genoa and the Liguria region. The rebuilding of the key intersection of the motorway and railway network around Genoa towards Italy’s northern regions was a united effort by local, regional authorities and operators creating the new high-tech San Giorgio bridge in record time as well as getting the same alliance to support a further extraordinary infrastructure development plan. Also known as Ports of Genoa (R)Evolution, the latter is today enforcing the network of the four ports of Western Ligurian Sea to meet the future sustainability and growth of the regional economy. “The port and the city together have achieved a great result. With this master plan we are designing the port-city infrastructure so that there is a future prospect for the next generations thanks to the efforts of administrations, terminal operators but above all citizens who have to endure the inconvenience
Genoa handles one“third of total Italian container volumes” caused by construction sites,” says Marco Bucci, mayor of Genoa and special commissioner for the reconstruction. The Ports of Genoa system is based on four multipurpose port basins represented from east to west by Genoa and nearby Prà, then 25 km to Savona and nearby Vado Ligure, all deployed on a coastal arc of 50 km. All together these port basins offer over 7m sq m of port area, over 27 km of quays with over 100 berths and 30 port terminals managed by major global players. The Ports of Genoa set a new annual container volume record for 2021, reporting 2,781,112 teu, up 11.3% on the previous year. The Ports of Genoa network is the main logistics entry point for the commercial exchange by the Northern Italy main regions, namely Piemonte, Lombardia,
Emilia Romagna and Triveneto. Road transport is the prevailing modality but the intermodality component is growing. The rail transport ratio - 15.7% of overall transportation in 2021 - is progressively increasing, with a growth of 2,341 trains (+33,2%) and 72,603 teu (+23,6%) from 2019 to 2021. Being the south terminal of the EU Rhine-Alpine Corridor, the penetration of the Ports of Genoa beyond the Alps is gaining traction with the ongoing works for the new high-speed Terzo Valico rail line through the Apennines that will connect the Liguria port system with Northern Italy regions and on to Northern Europe when it launches in 2024. Another significant Genoa port infrastructure project, for which a contract was awarded last March, is the expansion of the Sestri Ponente port area, destined to accommodate the concession for a larger Fincantieri shipyard, including a new 440 m long drydock for ships up to 155,000 gt, alongside a new pier for the fitting out of large ships. A huge new breakwater project is
underway to allow the largest ships to call more easily at the Italian hub, an investment keenly welcomed by Paolo Pessina, president of Genoa’s shipping agents association. “The Ports of Genoa (R)Evolution is key for the Ligurian shipping and logistics development. The main project represented by the new breakwater is a must to keep and increase the variety of traffic and their numbers. Without it, Genoa won’t be able to accommodate the ultra large containerships, losing traffic and frustrating the public investments in the new railway network and the Terzo Valico high-speed railway,” Pessina tells Splash. After years of neglect, many traditional Genoese shipping companies and international lines are looking to return and to expand. “Genoa continues to be chosen by the main liner companies for their offices to serve Italy and the Mediterranean basin. All the main groups are searching for new personnel: CMA CGM, Hapag Lloyd and MSC,” Pessina says, going to add that he is
optimistic all the public investments will also attract private investments. Looking to the future and the growing container traffic, Spediporto, the association of local forward freighters, is pursuing an ambitious plan for Genoa port. The association developed the project for a reinforced Simplified Logistics Zone (ZLS) in the Valpolcevera valley where the Morandi collapsed and the San Giorgio bridge was built by Webuild and Fincantieri Infrastructures in record time. “Together with the public administrations and all the stakeholders of the blue economy we completed a huge design work for the new project, which has met a lot of interest from Italian and foreign companies and investment funds,” says Giampaolo Botta, Spediporto
director. Ignazio Messina, CEO of Genoese shipping line Ignazio Messina & C, admits many involved in transport are struggling to find new space in the port, something that is especially acute in the Sampierdarena port area which suffers height restrictions due to the nearby airport and lower water drafts. “The huge investment plan might generate a unique occasion, but the essential part of this programme must be evaluated very carefully,” Messina tells Splash. “If we are not able to coordinate timing of different facility projects, we could put our port in a situation of permanent chaos, wasting an historical occasion, especially for both road and rail land connections if we are not able to build them with European standard.”
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MEDITERRANEAN HUBS Market Report 2022
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The cities driving maritime growth Athens, Genoa, Limassol, Marseille and Monaco in the spotlight
In pursuit of more gold The upcoming hurdles
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Italian PM backs city Growing the port area of Genoa means betting on the potential of this city, says Mario Draghi on a tour of the city
Visiting? ∙ STAY Palazzo Grillo ∙ EAT Hosteria Ducale ∙ DRINK Spazio Lomellini 17 ∙ VISIT Royal Palace Museum
talian prime minister Mario Draghi visited Genoa port this February, taking a trip on a vessel (pictured) as well as addressing local dignitaries on just how important he sees this maritime gateway being for the overall national economy. “The Port of Genoa and Savona is Italy’s leading container gateway port, handling one-third of total Italian volumes. The speed and efficiency of the port are a fundamental driving force behind our exports and our entire manufacturing industry,” Draghi said. “Today, the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, together with the Port Investment Programme, are a catalyst towards the establishment of an increasingly competitive and safer Port of Genoa. It is an investment for the city and for the industrial sector overall, at both local and national level,” he said in an address at the headquarters of the port authority. Draghi hit out at how Italy lies nineteenth in the world for times and costs associated with logistics, in no small part due to bureaucratic burdens and delays in digital development. “We have to break down these obstacles in order to fully reap the benefits offered by the increase in trade,” the veteran politician said. Draghi discussed his government’s intention to expand infrastructure to
accommodate an ever-increasing volume of port traffic . “We want to improve the connection between ports, road networks, railways, in order to face competition from other Mediterranean and Northern European ports,” he said, going on to discuss initiatives to accelerate the digitalisation of the entire supply chain, to promote flexibility and reduce inefficiencies
as well as simplifying administrative procedures to facilitate flows. In concluding his remarks at the port authority’s headquarters, Draghi stressed: “Growing the port area of Genoa means betting on the potential of this city and on the ability of our country to be a protagonist in the Mediterranean and in the world. It means creating jobs and new opportunities for young people.”
Port tech THE DIGITALISATION OF the port and supply chain is moving rapidly ahead in Genoa - the front runner port in Italy - with the recent launch of the new PCS (Port Community System) E-port mobile app designed to improve the provision of services to the haulage industry. This app has been developed for roadhaulers but the first PCS functionalities for the railway operators are beginning to be made available. Local companies and start-ups in the shipping and supply chain sectors are supported by institutions such as the START 4.0 public-private partnership led by the National Research Council, a major competence centre and a reference point for innovation in Liguria and beyond. Grouping public and private entities including the region’s Liguria Digitale body, the
Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), the University of Genoa and its spinoffs together with main companies like Ansaldo Energia, Leonardo and RINA, the START 4.0 competence centre is working and financing a range of innovation projects from the digitalisation of the bill of lading to the simulation of complex processes relating to port areas, such as those related to the movement of goods, their traceability and worker safety. START 4.0 is also leading the AMAVE project, a candidate to be one of the European Digital Innovation Hubs to increase digitisation in the sectors of the shipbuilding supply chain, handling of goods and passengers by sea, environmental protection, tourism and recreational services and the fishing industry.
Dawn of a European champion Limassol has all the right maritime ingredients to prosper
he strategically located island of Cyprus, third-largest in the Mediterranean, has been an important trading hub and point of exchange between different cultures since antiquity, meaning it’s no surprise that the country is home to a thriving, cosmopolitan centre of the international maritime industry today with Limassol (or Lemesos in Greek) as undisputed capital of that business. Really little more than a town with only just over 100,000 inhabitants, Limassol enjoys the distinction of being the leading third-party shipmanagement centre in Europe and one of the most important worldwide, with all the ancillary services one would expect to go alongside, as well as also housing the administration of the EU’s third-largest shipping register, ranked 11th internationally, and a port recently re-energised by privatisation. Limassol’s modern shipping fortunes really began some 50 years ago when a handful of German shipping names – including Klaus Oldendorff, Bernhard Schulte and Heinrich Scholler - first chose Limassol as a suitable lowtax base from which to manage their fleets, the combination of easy access to the island’s central mountains for skiing and an unspoilt Mediterranean coastline providing a highly enviable lifestyle; Norwegian tanker magnate John Fredriksen also chose to obtain Cypriot nationality and base some of his operations for a short time in the city. This injection of north European expertise served to galvanise the local shipowning community, also acting as a catalyst for improvement of the Cyprus flag, which in those days was seen as a low-cost refuge for older Greek and Levantine tonnage of dubious quality. Cyprus’ accession to the European Union in 2004 brought a further stepchange in quality of the flag, while at the same time many of the shipmanagers based in Limassol rode the ‘super cycle’ of the early 2000s to became shipowners in their own right, overseeing ambitious newbuilding programmes, mostly in China and almost all of innovative and highly environmentally friendly tonnage. Today Limassol has one of the most dynamic national shipping
administrations in the EU, which in turn works closely with the Cyprus Shipping Chamber (CSC), representing some 200 maritime-related companies based on the island, and the Cyprus Union of Shipowners (CUS), representing overseas owners – mainly Greek – flying the Cyprus flag, both associations based in the city as well. Together these three bodies wield considerable influence within EU and global shipping circles, as evidenced by the number of Limassol-based shipping figures now occupying key roles in international associations. Philippos Philis, founding chairman and CEO of Lemissoler Navigation, is current president of the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA); Columbia Shipmanagement’s Mark O’Neil is president of the international shipmanagers’ association InterManager; CSC president and Interorient CEO Themis Papadopoulos is vice-president of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS); and Tototheo Maritime joint CEO Despina Panayiotou Theodosiuou is outgoing president of WISTA (Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association) International. Meanwhile, the Cyprus shipping minister – officially only a Deputy Minister for constitutional reasons linked to the Turkish occupation of the northern part of the island, of which more anon – is Vassilios Demetriades, formerly a policy officer in the Directorate General of Mobility and Transport of the European Commission, meaning the Limassol shipping community is no stranger to the machinations of Brussels on shipping matters. Philis’ own company Lemissoler is a dry bulk operator that was named after the term for inhabitants of the city. “There is a humanity and compassion within the Limassoler psyche that is often reflected in the activities of our company,” he explains. Another key supporter of the Cyprus cluster and founder member of the CUS is Polys Hajioannou, chairman and CEO of Safe Bulkers, which operates a rapidly expanding fleet of 40-plus bulkers that fly the Cyprus flag. While not resident on the island, he is nephew of the late Lucas Haji-
Ioannou who built up the mighty Troodos tanker fleet – at one time the world’s largest - after having grown up in a village in the mountains of the same name just to the north of Limassol. The Cyprus flag currently boasts more than 2,200 ocean-going vessels totalling 21m gt but suffers from the serious handicap of Turkey’s embargo on all ships linked with Cyprus entering Turkish ports, a legacy of the ongoing political dispute over the status of northern Cyprus that has been rankling for nearly 50 years. “Any maritime disputes, embargoes or other restrictions are always strongly condemned,” says CSC president Themis Papadopoulos. “They tend to be shortsighted and counterproductive most of the time. Turkey’s embargo of all things related to Cyprus shipping, including ports, falls within that category. Despite this, Cyprus has successfully managed over the past few decades to establish itself as one of the main global and European maritime centres.” Papadopoulos’ own company, Interorient, is a leading operator of product carriers, most of which are employed in the Norient pool it runs jointly with Denmark’s Norden. It is also one of the island’s leading shipmanagers and unlike others - such as BSM, Columbia, Intership, OSM, Unicom and V.Ships (Cyprus), for example - is Cypriot owned. Intership and sister Limassol-based company Donnelly form part of the Hartmann Group of Germany and together currently manage 70 vessels, approximately. half of which are fully or partially Hartmann-owned - mainly either dry bulk/ multi-purpose vessels (intership) or product/small gas tankers (Donnelly). “Limassol is well known for its benefits to shipmanagers – relatively low cost, yet EU operation, highly skilled labour base, extremely supportive government, easy access to decision-makers, highly developed professional services support and so forth,” says Dieter Rohdenburg, Intership CEO. He therefore expects the number of owners/managers in the city to continue increasing, although finding affordable housing in Limassol is a rising concern.
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Long-term vision Shipping is such an important contributor to the national economy that government incentives are constantly being upgraded
yprus offers a number of fiscal and economic incentives to shipping companies basing their activities in Limassol or elsewhere on the island, including a competitive corporation tax where the standard rate is currently 12.5% but set to rise to 15% this year in line with the global OECD tax reform agreed with Cyprus. Adding to this are lower operation costs than in most of mainland Europe, as well as the ready availability of competent local employees with both English and Greek language skills Then there are the competitive ship registration costs for vessels flying the Cyprus flag, as well as a very favourable and tonnage tax regime which covers shipowning, shipmanagement, and chartering companies. That Cyprus Shipping Taxation Scheme was approved by the European Commission in December 2019 for another 10 years, hailed at the time as a significant achievement that demonstrated the close cooperation and coordinated efforts between the island’s shipping industry and government. Indeed, government support combined with a long-term vision underpin the strength and stability of the Limassol cluster, the importance of shipping routinely acknowledged by politicians as
being the second largest contributor to the national economy behind tourism. In October 2021, following a ninemonth consultation with the local shipping industry, Cyprus president, Nicos Anastasiades and the shipping deputy minister (SDM), Vassilios Demetriades, launched a long-term strategic vision for Cyprus shipping. Entitled SEA Change 2030, it contains 35 individual actions described under the three main categories of Sustainable, Extrovert, and Adaptable. A new unit has been created within the SDM to implement these initiatives, which the government says are designed to “create the conditions for Cyprus shipping to become more resilient and sustainable.” From fiscal year 2021 onwards, the government is also introducing a green incentives programme for tonnage tax reductions of up to 30% for vessels that can demonstrate effective emissions reductions. Specifically, vessels that have achieved further reduction of their attained EEDI (Energy Efficiency Design Index) compared to the required EEDI will obtain rebates of 5 – 25%, while under the IMO DCS (Data Collection System) ships which demonstrate reduction of their total fuel oil consumption in relation to the distance
travelled compared to the immediately previous reporting period will receive rebates of between 10-20%. Vessels using an alternative fuel and achieving CO2 emissions reductions of at least 20% in comparison with traditional fuels will qualify for 15-30% rebates. This will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, following review of documents submitted from a class society. Any vessel detained during a Port State Control detention for any reason that violates any regulation of the European Commission relating to environmental protection or in laid-up condition during the year will not be eligible for the incentive. Deputy minister Demetriades commented: “Striking the right balance between the green transformation and competitiveness is a challenge but also presents opportunities. “Cyprus believes incentives such as this will encourage greater environmental sustainability across the global industry while also enhancing maritime Europe’s competitive advantage in new green technologies. This creates opportunities for jobs and growth, providing a firstmover advantage to the EU shipping industry.”
Full-service offering As befits an island with so many shipmanagers, there’s no shortage of ancillary maritime services
imassol has long boasted a full spectrum of maritime services companies, based principally on its strong constituency of shipmanagersturned-owners. Crewing is an important affiliated activity and the city is also home to dedicated crew managers like Marlow Navigation, supplying mostly to German owners. Indeed, it was on account of the island’s strong crew management activity that Cyprus lobbied long and successfully to get crew managers ruled eligible for EU tonnage tax rules. Limassol ship and crew management companies have spawned dedicated travel, telecommunications and catering companies based in the city, while BSM operates the Hanseatic Marine Training Centre for cadets and officer STCW refresher courses. Companies engaged in chartering, ship surveying, shipbroking, salvaging and marine insurance are also all present in Limassol, notes the Cyprus Shipping Chamber (CSC), as well as shipping, clearing and forwarding agents; ship chandlers; freight forwarders, and other shipping-related businesses. Then there is the Cyprus Deputy
Ministry of Shipping which administers the Cyprus flag, meaning there is no shortage of surveying and inspection expertise. Legal services are another specialty of the island, based both in Limassol and Nicosia. Cyprus combines a legal system closely modelled on its British counterpart, as well as a high level of professionalism in accounting and an established banking system Indeed, following Brexit
many London-based financial services companies have opened subsidiary offices in Limassol for EU ‘passporting’ purposes. The city has several colleges teaching maritime-related subjects to those wishing to follow a sea- or land-based shipping career, and it was the Limassol-based CSC that 16 years ago first invented the highly successful Adopt-a-Ship programme for schools that has since been replicated in several other countries.
partnership with Safetytech Accelerator – a non-profit body established by Lloyd’s Register to promote safety and risk in industrial sectors through the encouragement of start-ups. CMMI has already set up 10 separate poles or research and innovation centres that will be focused on: engineering, robotics, digitalisation, marine observation, marine and coastal ecosystems, the human element, cultural heritage, maritime policies and regional cooperation, and underwater and seabed technologies. One recent start-up already making a name for itself is Marine Fields, an affiliated company of comms specialist Tototheo, which offers a port call
optimisation service called Perseus that allows instant data sharing between shipping companies, ports and terminals. A fellow award-winning Limassol start-up is KeelX Robotics, a spin-off of Lemissoler Navigation. Together with the RCDS Laboratory of Mechanical Engineering at the Cyprus University of Technology it has developed a nextgen autonomous robotic systems for maritime operations. Limassol is also home to one of the three offices of Innoport, the venture capital arm of the Schulte Group. Innoport invests in start-ups in the maritime and logistics sector, leveraging its links with the group’s global network that also includes Limassol-based shipmanager BSM Cyprus.
Tech island CYPRUS IS IN the process of setting up a centre of excellence for marine and maritime research, technological development and innovation which will place particular emphasis on the encouragement of start-ups in the blue economy. Called the Cyprus Marine and Maritime Institute (CMMI), the centre will be headquartered on a greenfield site next to Larnaca airport, located less than one hour’s drive east of Limassol. The CMMI was first set up in 2019, with the help of a €30m grant from the EU’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme and matching funding from the Cyprus government. This March, CMMI announced a
Port transformation Much has changed in the five years since the port was privatised
imassol port on the western fringes of the city is the largest on Cyprus for both cargo and passenger activities, as well as being the island’s main support centre for the growing offshore energy sector, making it one of the busiest shipping hubs in the Eastern Med. The port currently handles around 400,000 teu of containers a year as well as general cargo, breakbulk, roro and bulk cargoes – representing about 90% of the country’s import and export trade - while its new cruise terminal is able to receive the largest ships afloat today. The old harbour in the city centre, now redeveloped into a high-end retail, leisure and residential complex, also boasts a marina for superyachts. The port has undergone a major transformation in the five years since it was privatised in early 2017. DP World Limassol was handed a 25-year concession by the Cyprus Ports Authority to operate the cruise and multipurpose terminals, including up to 50,000 teu of containers a year, while Eurogate Container Terminal Limassol was
charged with looking after the remaining containerised activities and P&O Maritime Cyprus (part of DP World Group) the provision of marine services to vessels calling the port. DP World’s biggest investment in the port since then has been construction of a new 7,000 sq m cruise terminal costing €14.4m, which opened in May 2018. The company also plans progressive upgrading of the port’s multipurpose facilities, currently consisting of three quays. Meanwhile, Eurogate Container Terminal Limassol – run by a consortium led by Hamburg-based Eurogate in which local shipowner/manager Interorient has a 20% stake - covers 340,000 sq m with 800 m of deepwater quay and five container gantry cranes. In February this year, the port’s three operating companies attracted unwelcome publicity when they announced plans to revise upwards tariffs - as allowed for according to an index in their concessions – by an average 16%, citing higher electricity, fuel and labour costs.
Amid widespread protest the move was averted, the government saying it would absorb some of the operators’ increased costs by paying off portions of their outstanding debt. But this in turn has raised the prospect of the government’s plan being investigated by the European Commission as a possible breach of State Aid Guidelines - anathema for a country that normally prides itself on being in lockstep with EU maritime policy.
Visiting? ∙ STAY Amara ∙ EAT Meze Taverna ∙ DRINK Poe Bar ∙ VISIT Molos promenade
The capital of the Mediterranean? The French president has grand plans for Marseille
arseille is the second most populated city in France. Founded around 600 BC by Greek settlers from Phoenicia , Marseille is the oldest city in the country, as well as one of Europe’s oldest continuously inhabited settlements. It is a place that has lived and breathed maritime trade for just about longer than anywhere else in the region. Over the past decade the city has transformed, retooled and repurposed for the challenges of the 21st century. Historically, the economy of Marseille was dominated by its role as a port of the
French Empire, linking the North African colonies of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia with Metropolitan France. The economy of Marseille and its region is still linked to its commercial port, the first French port and the fifth European port by cargo tonnage. Some 45,000 jobs are linked to the port activities and it represents €4bn added value to the regional economy. 100m tons of freight
pass annually through the port, 60% of which is petroleum, making it number one in France and the Mediterranean and number three in Europe. Located near one of the biggest French rivers, the Rhône, the city is directly linked to the European hinterland by waterways and rail, and latterly its boxport has tried to position itself as an alternative to the busy north European terminals.
The city has transformed, retooled and “ repurposed for the challenges of the 21st century”
Macron has vowed to make Marseille the capital of the Mediterranean
Marseille is also reinventing itself through the renovation of its neighbourhoods. President Emanuel Macron, one of the most famous supporters of the city’s football club, has made a great deal of his ambition to regenerate the city, setting aside billions of euros for the process last autumn with the provençal city a regular stop for him during this spring’s presidential election. The city’s grand rattrapage - or big catchup plan - officially called Marseille en grand - promises very significant investments in local schools and transport, particularly in northern districts. There’s also an innovation component of the Marseille en grand plan. A call for initiatives was launched in December to create four entrepreneurship hubs in
Marseille, which will be dedicated places where young people with projects will be trained, advised and mentored free of charge by business leaders, associations and supported by public services. Macron has described the city as a “laboratory for the republic” - something that is definitely the case too for maritime with new fuels and shipping-related start-ups flourishing. Into his second term as president, Macron has vowed to make Marseille the “capital of the Mediterranean”. Like many great trading hubs, Marseille has had to reinvent itself every few generations. Its citizens find themselves in the crux of another transformation right now - carrying on its mercantile traditions while ensuring the municipality is a digital leader. The city’s mayor, Benoît Payan, could leave a more widespread maritime legacy as it is he has led the charge to speed up the creation of a Mediterranean emissions control area (ECA), something that would become the largest maritime zone in the world regulating polluting emissions. Marseille has also recently been selected as one of 100 European cities to
participate in a European Union project whose objective is climate neutrality by 2030. Marseille and the other 99 cities must become laboratories for experimentation and innovation to enable all European cities to achieve this objective by 2050 with Payan saying many resources will be spent to ensure the port becomes greener while freight moving through the city will increasingly be carried on electric vehicles.
Visiting? ∙ STAY La Residence Du Vieux Port ∙ EAT Chez Fonfon ∙ DRINK Carry Nation ∙ VISIT Basilique Notre-Dame-de-la- Garde
Looking north The port of Marseille-Fos is expanding its hinterland
he Grand Port Maritime de Marseille-Fos bounced back in very solid fashion last year - it now wants to take cargo away from some of the big names up north. Last year, Marseille-Fos, France’s top port, handled 75m tonnes of cargo including 1.5m teu of containers of which 218,000 teu were moved by rail. “The port of Marseille-Fos is becoming more than ever the southern gateway of Europe, conquering its hinterland,” said Elisabeth Ayrault, president of the port’s supervisory board while unveiling the 2021 results. The port, she said, is positioning itself as the bridgehead of the axis linking the Mediterranean with the Rhône and Saône rivers with ever greater rail links. “The opportunities offered by this vision of a major axis are vast, both in the fields of containers and logistics, as well as in industry and the energy and digital transitions,” Ayrault added. Marseille’s largest and best-known shipping line, CMA CGM, launched in January two rail services between Duisburg in Germany and Marseille-Fos. “This service offers an alternative to the North European ports and proposes to our customers a more environmentally
friendly mode of transportation,” a spokesperson for the liner firm tells Splash. This is part of a wider push by the local port community to take advantage of the environmental transition to allow the port to capture maritime flows that currently pass through to the north by transferring them to rail or barge. “Serving northern Europe from Asia represents five more days at sea at a time when fuel prices are very high,” points out Alain Mistre, the president of the local Maritime and Fluvial Union (UMF). As befits a top global port in the 2020s, Marseille-Fos is helping lead the way when it comes to shipping’s transition to alternative fuels. The port is working with Paris-headquartered H2V to establish a new industrial facility to produce green hydrogen. Costing around €750m, the development of this production plant aims to help decarbonise operations in the Fos industrial port area. During development, six hydrogen production units of around 600 MW will be built between 2026 and 2031 on a 36 ha site. The port is one of the world’s top LNG bunkering hubs, thanks in no small part to
CMA CGM as a top client and its supplier French energy major TotalEnergies. The aim now is to develop greener versions of this fuel. The first French project to produce liquefied biomethane, a low-carbon non-fossil fuel, was launched at the port last year. The project converts the biodegradable part of household waste from the Marseille Provence region into fuel that will go on CMA CGM’s ships. CMA CGM has also recently joined an industrial demonstrator project that aims to produce green hydrogen from renewable power and also e-methane, a synthetic gas using hydrogen and CO2 captured from the industrial process. Piloted by the French natural gas transmission system operator, GRTgaz, the Jupiter 1000 project in Fos-sur-Mer is intended to provide solutions to the challenge of decarbonising gas networks and the intermittent nature of renewable energy. The idea is to convert a portion of renewable power, at times when it is abundant, into hydrogen and e-methane so it can be stored on a large scale and for lengthy periods. Beyond producing hydrogen, Jupiter 1000 also recycles CO2 by converting it into synthetic gas in a methanation unit.
Hitting accelerate France’s second city is a major digital data hub
ew cities in Europe have more startup incubators than Marseille, a place that is increasingly seen as among the most tech-savvy in France. Accélérateur M, Incubateur Belle de Mai, Le Carburateur, Marseille Innovation and NetAngels are some of the names generating a tech buzz in the city. Also among the notable accelerators is ZEBOX, created in 2018 by the city’s bestknown shipping line, CMA CGM. In less than four years, ZEBOX has supported more than 55 start-ups, building successful businesses that have raised tens of millions of dollars and created scores of new high-skilled jobs. “ZEBOX accelerates digitalisation, automation, and sustainability by harnessing new technologies including AI, IoT, Big Data, and robotics,” a spokesperson for CMA CGM tells Splash. In order to accelerate the development of innovation, CMA CGM also launched
March TANGRAM. TANGRAM, which takes its name from a Chinese puzzle that requires creativity and deep thinking, is a new place of collaboration built around two major challenges—developing skills and accelerating innovation. The project is all about harnessing collective intelligence, bringing skills together and looking ahead to the world of the future. All of the group’s employees around the world will be given access to training while an apprentice training center has also been created to meet the need for professionals in high-demand areas and to train people for the jobs of the future. Another notable developer of maritime solutions is the French Smart Port in Med platform, created by the regional government, the port, the local chamber of commerce and Aix Marseille University. The platform has annual challenges and has helped nurture many start-ups. The port has positioned itself as a digital
data hub with the creation of new sectors in the digital economy to generate value and new sources of jobs: data centers, submarine cables, new services linked to the deployment of 5G, artificial intelligence, blockchain and smart port data. Among homegrown tech talent there is Ci5, a cargo flow management system developed by Marseille Gyptis International, in which the port is a shareholder. There’s also the CO2 calculator developed by Searoutes in partnership with the port. It calculates the environmental footprint of a ship’s route as well as offering the possibility of comparing the carbon footprint of different routes for a given journey with the option of selecting different port transit points and modes of transport. The port is also assisting a variety of companies in carrying out a variety of landmark blockchain trials.
Sunny prospects The Monagesque maritime cluster is growing
f the five hubs covered in this magazine none has a leader who is more passionate about the ocean than Prince Albert II of Monaco (pictured). In charge of the tax haven since 2005, the 64-year-old has spent considerable time and money positioning Monaco as one of the world’s top resources when it comes to ocean sustainability. “To be truly aware of our relationship with the ocean and hope to change it, we need to look at how we act towards the seas,” said the prince in launching the Monaco Blue Initiative, a discussion platform which brings together every year, by invitation, the major players in the ocean sector to discuss the global challenges of ocean management and conservation. “We must engage all stakeholders in a dialogue to better understand the issues that link the seas and humanity. This is how we will be able to place the ocean at the heart of our development model,” the prince stressed.
Best known, shipping-wise, for its yachting culture, Monaco has built up a strong commercial shipping cluster in the 21st century which encompasses every maritime strand. Scorpio supremo Emanuele Lauro, who is also president of the principality’s chamber of shipping, says commercial shipping now makes up more than 4% of the city-state’s GDP. Commercial shipping also employs more than 1,000 people in the tiny micro-state, whose total population is just shy of 40,000. “The principality truly represents an ideal place to welcome shipping companies thanks to the efficiency of its administration, its political stability, the quality of its socio-economic environment, and its central location near the main European capitals,” the Italian says. Scorpio itself has been in Monaco since 1984. John Michael Radziwill, Monaco resident and chair of GoodBulk, tells Splash: “Monaco provides an all-
encompassing cluster of various services catering to the maritime industry.” “The principality,” Radziwill continues, “is home to several international shipowners, both private and publicly listed ones, shipbrokers, commodity traders, maritime law firms, accountancy and insurance companies which specialise in shipping as well as commercial and technical management companies, all within its 2 sq km area.” What is more many companies are located in the same district or even building making it that much easier to get around for various meetings. The main languages spoken are English, Italian, and French making communication very easy for people from various backgrounds. “Great weather helps as does proximity to the sea and of course being nestled between two of Europe’s most beautiful countries, France and Italy,” adds Radziwill, who also heads up shipping pool C Transport Maritime. Danilo Fumarola, CEO of another
Monaco-based shipowner, Gestion Maritime, points out that the fast-growing local managed fleet is now in the top 20 worldwide. “The shipping cluster has significantly evolved over the last 15 years, both horizontally and vertically,”Fumarola says. “The fleet size has rapidly increased both in terms of the number of ships and type of ships.” Monaco is “perfectly located” in the middle of Europe, Fumarola argues, strategically connected to the world via the nearby international airport of Nice, the busiest airport in France outside of Paris. Roberto Giorgi, who led V.Ships for many years before retiring, is a tireless champion of all things Monaco maritime, highlighting the truly international representation of nationalities coming from all over the world with different know-how, ensuring a broad, diverse cluster. “The representation of brokers, traders, lawyers, auditors, bankers and shipmanagers across the ocean sector
is becoming bigger, younger and more international every year,” Giorgi says, admitting that the favourable taxation regime proves to be a significant attraction for many. The local Chamber of Shipping, a
thriving Monaco chapter of the Propeller Club, WISTA representatives combined with the many initiatives from the swish Monaco Yacht Club (pictured) ensure the maritime community has plenty of places to meet up.
GESTION MARITIME GROUP
Higher up the podium There’s more local authorities could be doing to drive this maritime cluster up the rankings
onaco has made massive progress as a maritime cluster in the 21st century, but there is still plenty more the enclave could do to bolster its position on the map, according to top names in the principality. Over the years, the local authorities have become more and more aware of how important the shipping business is today in the principality and have supported and facilitated business. The Chamber of Shipping of Monaco is in contact and cooperates with local authorities to make sure that all major topics are put under their attention and worked on together for effective solutions. Danilo Fumarola, CEO of Monacobased shipowner Gestion Maritime, notes that plenty of work has been done to adapt the local banking system to shipping and several treaties have been signed to help free trade and the free movement of people. Nevertheless, he concedes Monaco is still relatively undeveloped when it comes to corporate financial services to enable
companies to grow their business. “At the moment companies are still looking primarily to the US, UK and Norway for more sophisticated financial services. I would not be surprised to see also this changing over the next years,” Fumarola tells Splash. Roberto Giorgi, currently chair of Fraser Yachts after a long career with V.Ships, reckons more should be done at organising at an International Maritime Organization (IMO) level lobbying which represents the local cluster. Likewise, he says the government should consider expanding how it promotes the flag, changing some laws to ensure Monaco-registered companies flying the local flag enjoy better benefits. As a tax haven, Monaco obviously has
perks are eroded “byTax immense real estate costs”
considerable financial perks, but these are eroded by the immense real estate costs, a common gripe among many in maritime. Indeed, Monte Carlo these days tops Hong Kong and New York when it comes to property, making the likes of London or Paris look cheap in comparison. The average price per sq m in Monaco is €47,600 ($49,700) whereas in Hong Kong the price per sq m stands at €39,600 and €22,200 in New York. In the last years, the principality has approved a record number of new real estate projects to be offered to its residents; the most spectacular example is the Mareterra project, a large land reclaiming infrastructure which has extended materially the area of Monaco into the sea. Nevertheless, Monaco remains very cramped with one of the highest population densities in the world. “Space for offices is obviously limited and quite expensive, but nowadays we all have learnt to work in different ways, which makes this less of a drawback than it used to be,” says Gestion’s Fumarola.
Yacht Club de Monaco Wednesday, 12th October
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Green tech prioritised Under Prince Albert II the enclave is promoting many pioneering initiatives to clean up the world’s oceans
onaco is making a name for itself as a start-up incubator hub, but has yet to translate this in a meaningful way into the maritime realm. MonacoTech is the principality’s main incubator, taking a host of companies both homegrown and from around the world to develop their skills. While some of the start-ups selected to date have been transport-based, and even yachtingtargeted, no commercial shipping tech firms have been taken onboard yet. “Monaco is not a location where you would find many maritime tech start-ups mainly because it is typically a place where established companies tend to be attracted to,” says GoodBulk CEO John Michael Radziwill. “Maritime tech start-ups tend to start in locations where the shipping industry is more mature and at the core of the country’s roots - such as Greece, Denmark, Germany or the UK - and where there are universities offering maritime studies.” Given the territory’s strong commitment to ocean preservation however, led from
the very top in the form of seas champion Prince Albert II, the city-state is pioneering green maritime tech solutions. “The city has been very active to promote, support and encourage hightech businesses especially when they involve ESG and the green economy,” says Danilo Fumarola, CEO of Monaco-based shipowner Gestion Maritime. A government financial scheme is in place for entrepreneurs willing to adapt their business to more stringent ESG requirements through high-tech solutions. Also noteworthy is the annual Monaco Prize for Innovation in Renewable Hydrogen and Transportation, a first of its kind in the world, designed to accelerate technological innovation in the field of renewable hydrogen and mobility, with this year’s prize, due to be handed over in November, very much focused on the maritime value chain. Entrepreneurs and innovative startups, solution-focused projects within multinational forms, inventive policy frameworks and solutions from around
the globe are encouraged to apply for the prize. When it comes to green innovation, the territory’s world-leading Oceanographic Institute, which boasts enviable resources made available from the royal family, is very much at the forefront among Mediterranean hubs.
Visiting? ∙ STAY Hotel Metropole ∙ EAT Le Louis XV ∙ DRINK Le Bar Américain ∙ VISIT Musée Oceanographique
Shipping’s digital conundrum As the industry considers the direction its digital transition takes, now is the time for standardisation across the industry, writes John Veson
ver the past few years, the shipping industry has heralded the pace of digitalisation and its impact as a catalyst for solving the many challenges it faces; from optimisation and efficiency gains to driving increased transparency and traceability across the supply chain. For an industry that has often been perceived as being somewhat traditional and slow to react to change, the speed of digitalisation and uptake of ‘smart’ technology belies that tag. However, we are only at the beginning of the digital transition, with further progress being stifled by the myriad of different digital languages being spoken; as shipping considers the direction its digital transition takes there are significant barriers to overcome. Currently, there is no standard way to exchange, interpret information, or effectively speak in a common language across the industry. Indeed, there are huge inconsistencies regarding the names of ports, terminals, berths, specifics in relation to vessels and barges, as well as ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) calculations. This makes it very difficult to exchange data, as data from different sources do not match up. At the same time, we are becoming increasingly overwhelmed with the sheer volume of data generated, where much of it is disparate and unstructured, making it
difficult to separate the signal from the noise. To maximise data usage and analytics, a normalised language needs to be urgently developed. Collaboration across the industry is central to achieving this, with the majority of participants adopting a common standard. Technology can be a critical driver of this; however, it also requires buy-in from industry players, support from regulators and, importantly, connected digital systems, the latter of which is currently lacking in what has historically been a siloed industry. The key is to understand the pain points for specific industry groups around connectivity and plot a course to a new way of operating. For example, ship owners and operators lack structure around data sharing. They want to share information in relation to ETA and Statement of Facts (SoF) in a structured way so they can be more efficient, as well as intentional in sharing specific information with relevant counterparties. Creating an internal digital system that enables an owner to seamlessly view all voyages and data related to those voyages is one thing. However, the vision must be to have an integrated external digital ecosystem – one where owners can exchange information directly with and in the same digital language as charterers,
brokers, agents, and other trusted counterparties, sharing specific voyage updates with personalised context at the click of a button. Similarly for charterers, the main pain points revolve around a lack of transparency. They want real-time visibility of shipments and regular, proactive communications with counterparties on where their cargo is. This insight is essential for informed decision making around commodity production and other downstream activities reliant on the cargo being shipped. A connected digital system with a standard language delivers this and consolidates all communications streams into one. The future potential for what can be achieved within the shipping industry is exciting. The direct sharing of information between connected systems will become commonplace, with business being transacted in real time and where data is processed in a structured, scalable and actionable way to facilitate the best possible decision making. Willing participation and collaboration are the key to driving a pace of change that sees new digital technologies – supported by industry-wide protocols and standards – that will lay the foundation for a thriving and sustainable shipping industry.
What makes a maritime centre? Our special correspondent assesses what it takes to be a maritime hub these days
or a shipowner who has managed to keep his head above water for the past few years and is now struggling to raise funding for a bit of growth or fleet renewal, it can be pretty frustrating to be sat next to an app developer who has just completed their third round of fund raising but still has no discernible prospect of positive cash flow. So why is it that cities around the world aspire to be ‘maritime centres’ and what is it that can tempt shipping companies to relocate ? Governments spend fortunes on promoting cities as maritime centrestear yourself away from the parties and wander the halls of the Posidonia exhibition and you will be bombarded with information about why particular cities justify you relocating. Recently, Vancouver’s much promoted bid to become an international maritime centre has stumbled with local and federal governments switching funding to other projects. These government initiatives are largely founded on the belief that a maritime ‘cluster’ can bring high value jobs and benefits to the broader local economy. Easing the immigration process
for expatriate workers and tax holidays are all part of the package, but what happens when the civic leaders move on to the next fashionable theme and the incentives start to dry up? Clearly, an incentive package alone is not enough to build a maritime centre. You don’t even need to be by the sea to be a maritime centre - Geneva (pictured) is now the commercial centre of a significant portion of the world’s cargoes, so a maritime history is not necessarily part of the equation, and hanging on to a storied maritime past is not going to see your city thrive in the future. Even up until the early 1980s, shipbrokers would be despatched from their London offices to Hull, Newcastleupon-Tyne, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Liverpool to visit the great shipowners who had plied their trade from these port cities since the 19th century. That’s all in the past now but having a core of shipowners is clearly still the force behind quite a few of the global maritime centres- Piraeus, Tokyo, and to a lesser extent Oslo, Hamburg and Hong Kong rely on the fact that they have a strong
owner base that allows them to maintain a vibrant services network. Shipowners may be lured to have representative offices in incentive-laden aspiring maritime centres, but where the commercial control will stay will continue to be determined by the quality of life in a particular city and the cost of living there. It’s an unrealistic dream to believe that your Hong Kong Chinese or Greek shipowner will uproot and move continent unless it’s a much better place to live. Perhaps Singapore and Geneva are the ones who have got it right. They attracted the cargo interests and hence all the ancillary services then followed. That’s a big change from 30 years ago when the owners seemed to have the upper hand, but hardly surprising. Perhaps we are about to see things change again- a recent Splash article lauded the efforts of Singapore, Hamburg, Oslo and Hong Kong in encouraging maritime-related tech start-ups. Maybe where those app developers choose to locate themselves will define where the next maritime centre is.
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