The 6th Maritime Trends Conference successfully concluded, with particularly interesting outcomes regarding the maritime sector

The 6th Maritime Trends Conference, which was held on May 5, 2018, at the Divani Caravel Hotel Athens, by the specialized Organization in Marine & Οffshore Travel Management, Marine Tours, was successfully completed and under the Academic Support of Deree & Alba – The American College of Greece.

The Conference, titled “Trends in Crew Management”, aimed at educating the Sector’s executives, in terms of the latest developments in human resources management.

This year’s event was the 6th in a row and surpassed every previous registration record, with more than 270 executives from 130 shipping companies attending, as well as distinguished representatives of the shipping community.

The conference started with the “Market Trends & Conditions” panel, which presented the Maritime Market projections for 2018, coordinated by Mr. George C. Xiradakis, Founder-Managing Director, XRTC Business Consultants.

In the first speech titled “Changing tides in the dry bulk and tanker markets”, Mr. George Lazaridis, Head of Market Research & Valuations, Allied Shipbroking Inc., presented the latest trends and developments in dry cargo and tankers, which are directly dependent on both the geopolitical instability and the friction between the world economy’s powerful “players”. Mr. Lazarids made particular reference to the stabilization of the sector, while stressing out that even though fleet demand is declining, interest is on the rise, which will also favor the prospects for funding in the modern shipping market.

Mr. Nikolaos Papanestis , First Vice President of the Oceans’ Industries Division of DNB BANK ASA, took the stand, with his speech “The role of financial institutions in a changing maritime environment”, elaborating on the “hot” issue of financing, in a constantly changing shipping environment. He focused on key indicators for accessing sources such as high levels of corporate transparency, company’s “healthy” financial results, full compliance with new regulations and KYC requirements, and retaining a new and technologically advanced fleet.

The first panel completed the speech by Dr. Vangelis Tsioumas, Full-time faculty, Deree – The American College of Greece, entitled “Human Capital as a Strategic Resource in Shipping”, which focused on the catalytic importance of the human factor for the well-being of a shipping company. The prominent professor pointed out that the crew remains a competitive necessity for any shipping company that wants to be at the top of the market, while emphasizing on the catalytic importance of cultivating a common corporate culture.

The second panel, coordinated by Mr. Konstantinos Oikonomou, CEO, Marine Tours and “Crew Management Issues”, focused on the crucial issue of crew management.

Mr. George Kouleris , Chief Operating Officer, PRIME, in his lecture titled “Crewing Challenges in the Present and Future”, presented not only the challenges that he is facing in the present, but also those who will be faced in the near future of Shipping, with regards to the sensitive issue of human resource management. Special emphasis was given by Mr. Kouleris on small and medium-sized shipping companies and the crucial role developing their human resources, plays, both at sea and on shore.

The panel then continued with Dr. Maria Progoulaki, Representative and Consultant, Green-Jakobsen A/ S – Lecturer, Deree – The American College of Greece and teaching fellow, Alba Graduate Business School, The American College of Greece, with her speech “Performance evaluation in shipping: more than just an appraisal form”. Dr. Progoulaki established the importance of properly assessing the performance of seafarers, stressing that such a process cannot be one-sided but necessarily multidimensional, while the role of the evaluator itself is of particular importance.

Another interesting conclusion that emerges from this speech is the fact that the feedback of seafarers with the appropriate data after the assessment is as important as the process itself, for the continuous improvement of crew performance.

The participants had also the opportunity to be informed by the internationally acclaimed speaker, Mr. Erik Green, Managing Director, Green-Jakobsen A/ S, and his speech entitled “Reflective learning in maritime education and training”, on the impact of so-called “experiential learning” in crew performance. Mr. Green shared with the delegates his long experience in experiential learning techniques, while pointing out that shipping companies should become more aware of its value and invest heavily on it.

The second round of lectures was completed with the lecture titled “The human element and management of risk in the shipping industry” Dr. Alexandros Glykas, Naval Architect & Marine Engineer Ph.D., DYNAMARINe. Dr. Glykas developed the issue of risk management and highlighted the importance of proper corporate structures to promote a safety culture. He also stressed that effective co-operation between crew and land-based personnel can foster such conditions.

The last panel of the conference elaborated on the particularly interesting issue of new technologies and the trends of Legal Science in Shipping, coordinated by Dr. Progoulaki.

In a speech by Mr. George M. Teriakidis, Regional Business Development Manager, DNV GL, entitled “Tanks unmanned ships (?)”, presented in detail the new phenomenon of unmanned ships and the revolution that this brings to the modern management of crews. According to Mr. Teriakidis, unmanned ships “have come to stay” and their penetration in the market is projected to be steadily scaling up. He even advised shipping managers to prepare for this new reality, which, apart from threats, provides new opportunities.

The speech by Mr. Panos G. Moraitis, CEO of Aspida, entitled “Managing cyber risk – a pragmatic approach”, followed the developments of the cyber-threats that threaten the shipping industry. He shared his experiences with delegates, pointing out that protection against such threats is more a matter of corporate culture than investment, since 90% of the issues arise from human negligence and only 10% from third-party threats.

The conference closed its proceedings with the speech “Managing efficiently crew claims” by Yiannis G. Timagenis, Partner at Timagenis Law Firm (Greece) – LL.B., LL.M, much. M.C.I.Arb. – Lecturer, Deree – The American College of Greece, which highlighted the typical legal issues relating to Crew Claims. He advised the responsible executives to deal with the demands of their seafarers not only as legal assumptions, but also as trade-related assumptions. Mr. Timagenis noted that the most controversial solution to a legal dispute is extrajudicial, while highlighting the importance of preventing crews’ legal claims, which should be taken seriously by each company before being driven on the often dead-end roads of judicial proceedings.

An important moment of the conference was the draw for the free participation in the SMM – Maritime Trade Fair, which will be held on 4 – 7 September 2018 in Hamburg. The lucky Winner was Costamare Shipping CO SA.