34th GL Hellas Committee - 100 Million GT Celebrated, Container Shipping in Focus


Athens, Greece -- The Hellas Committee of Germanischer Lloyd (GL) met today at the Hotel Grande Bretagne, Athens. The 34th meeting of the committee had a festive tone with GL celebrating topping the 100 million GT mark with its fleet in service. New design trends in container shipping, the recent adoption of new energy efficiency measures by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the current trends in the Greek maritime industry were also featured in presentations.

It was especially appropriate that GL celebrated the 100 million mark in Greece, as Greek ship owners have played a significant role in GL's growth and success in recent years. More than ten percent of GL's fleet in service or 11.5 million GT are from Greek owners. GL has currently more than 7,200 ships from over 1,900 shipping companies worldwide under regular technical supervision. Topping 100 million GT means that GL has been able to double the fleet in service over the last six years and have set a target of reaching the next 10 million GT by the end of next year.

The meeting opened with the introduction of the new Chairman of the Hellas Committee, Mr. Panos Laskaridis, Managing Director of the Laskaridis Shipping Group, by Mr. Erik van der Noordaa, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board of Germanischer Lloyd. Mr. Laskaridis then went on to address the Committee and introduce its new members. He reminded the representatives of GL that the Greek shipping industry is open to innovations, new products and services and insisted upon the importance of the commercial implications of new technologies being discussed with industry in advance.

Erik van der Noordaa, reflecting on GL in light of the historic milestone, gave an overview of the current shape of the GL Group and its activities over the past year. The GL Group has undergone a number of changes in recent years he noted, with the acquisition and integration of businesses working in the oil and gas and renewable energy sectors. In the maritime business itself structural and management changes are underway to sharpen GL's focus on its customers and further improve GL's responsiveness to client needs. These changes would also work to strengthen customer relationships, while providing strong operational management, he said.

Torsten Schramm, Chief Operating Officer of Germanischer Lloyd, informed the Committee members about the latest development of GL as part of the GL Group. He looked at GL's strong position in the containership segment and explained the latest trends in container shipping despite the volatility in current market conditions.

GL's new regional manager for Region Europe, Middle East, Africa, Matthias Ritters gave a detailed introduction to the challenges facing the maritime industry as it seeks to reduce its environmental impact. He looked at the adoption of the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) at the 62nd session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the IMO. These historic events represent the first global mandatory carbon dioxide reductions implemented by any industry. GL has been preparing clients for the introduction of both the EEDI and the SEEMP for several years, with voluntary EEDI certification part of the GL Environmental Passport service package.

Mr. Jan-Olaf Probst, Executive Vice President and GL's Head of Ship Newbuilding Division, looked at developments in the design of containers ships. He analysed the effect of the planned changes to the Panama Canal locks on the boxship industry and how this might affect coming newbuilding projects. Mr Probst examined two novel designs - the 'Twin Island' vessels with a relocated deckhouse, which could result in a gain of 5% in cargo capacity. And a 'Baby Post-Panamax' container chip, a 4600 teu vessel which would require significantly less ballast than traditional vessels. He also examined the possibilities of LNG as a ship fuel and amendments to the IMO Code of Safe Practice for Cargo Stowage and Securing (CSS).

Mr. Athanasios Reisopoulos, Vice President, Area Manager for Southern Europe, gave an update on GL's activities in Greece. The trends were generally positive he noted with relatively low newbuilding prices having attracted many players, not just the traditional container shipping companies, but also companies from other shipping sectors. GL Greece was able to provide support to these new players in the market by organizing Container forums, in-house presentations and through tailor made GL Academy seminars focusing on special container topics. The Greek fleet was continuing its trend toward ''containerisation'', he said, with growth expecting to take the Greek share to 5% of the international container fleet by the end of 2011. It was a point of much pride that some 80% of the orders of container ships placed by Greek ship owners within the period September 2010-May 2011 will be classed by GL, he noted.

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