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Capital Link Greek Shipping Forum: Highlighting the challenges of shipping

Featured Capital Link Greek Shipping Forum: Highlighting the challenges of shipping

With the participation of more than 800 participants and the presence of the heads of international institutions and associations of the shipping community as well as important economic factors of international and Greek shipping, the 13th annual Capital Link Greek Shipping Forum entitled "Stay Calm and Sail On" took place last week.

Described as an 'informal summit', the conference discussed a wide range of topics and major challenges such as the sailor shortage, decarbonisation and digital transformation.

In the context of the conference, the "2023 Capital Link Greek Shipping Leadership Award" was awarded to Mr. Themistoklis Vokos, Founding Member, Honorary Chairman of Posidonia; Founder of Seatrade, in recognition of his long-term contribution and achievements in Greek and global shipping.

As it is emphasized in this regard, the relevant award aims to recognize the "patriarchs" of Greek shipping, the personalities who, through their distinguished long career, have decisively contributed to the promotion of Greek shipping to its leading position on a global level.

"Greek shipping must remain calm"

In her speech, the president of the Union of Greek Shipowners, Melina Travos, emphasized: "Historically, regardless of the challenges facing shipping, its people manage to cope with the particularities of each era, protecting the way the global ecosystem functions. Greek shipping is synonymous with reliability and know-how, as is the case now, with the energy transition. Our commitment to decarbonisation, for example, is a fact. However, there are two conditions: firstly, energy producers, providers and shipyards must offer sustainable, turnkey solutions, globally. And, secondly, safety must be a priority, so that both our sailors and the environment are not at risk.

“Climate change requires global solutions, and the IMO is the only body that can provide them. Our shipping must remain calm and look ahead, for the well-being of our own planet," he added.

"Shipping really deserves all the credit"

For his part, Mr. Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the IMO, noted: “We have faced the difficulties of the pandemic for three years, which has affected shipping as a whole. We worked together, as we did when the military involvement in Ukraine began last February. Our green initiatives enjoy the support of the United Nations, and the IMO offers technical advice and support. These are policies for the future, with benefits for our children's generation. Continuation of our activities is necessary, but that alone is not enough: We must continue to sail at the right speed and in the right direction. That is why events like today's are important. I believe that the strategy of the industry must be readjusted with a focus on decarbonisation. I would like to thank the Member States and the industry for supporting the IMO and its efforts, but also for participating in discussions on the implementation of the respective measures. Shipping really deserves everyone's credit."

"Deep respect and love for the sea"

During his award ceremony, Mr. Themistoklis Vokos, Founding Member, Honorary Chairman of Posidonia; Founder of Seatrade, emphasized: "Thank you all for your kind words. I feel like I am among friends and family, fortunate to have been part of the maritime community for sixty years. Greece's long history in shipping perhaps explains how it managed to break into this unpredictable industry, becoming a global superpower. The people I met in the shipping industry inspired me to believe that anything is possible. I have a deep respect and love for the sea, as I believe it unites people from different countries and cultures, instead of dividing them. I share this award with my colleagues. My career has given me a lot, and if there was a price, I managed not to pay it, as I am lucky enough to have a great wife and much-loved children by my side."

The Minister of Environment and Energy, Kostas Skrekas, also spoke at the conference, pointing out that "shipping is the key to ensuring the energy sufficiency of the country. With this goal, LNG carriers are bringing gas to Revythoussa, allowing us to reduce our dependence on Russian gas. After all, shipping is going to transport 50% of the fuel required for

the green transition. This transition is our only option to offset the risk arising from geopolitical instability and the climate crisis. Enhancing diversification guarantees our autonomy. We want to diversify our energy mix and stop using coal-fired power plants by 2028, while at the same time we have set a goal of tripling our renewable generation capacity by 2030."

"Natural gas has an important role to play as a transition fuel. We are also launching ambitious green hydrogen projects, multiplying electrical interconnections with neighboring countries, and finally investing almost 1 billion euros in the energy upgrade of our buildings. I am proud of the fact that Greece took the 2nd place in the ranking for the ability to attract investments in renewable energy sources, while at the same time it is considered one of the most resilient countries in terms of managing the energy crisis as a whole", he added.