The UGS visits Washington DC for talks

Piraeus, 23.4.2018

A high-level delegation of the Union of Greek Shipowners headed by its President, Mr. Theodore Veniamis, completed one of its most successful regular visits to Washington DC from 16th to 20th April 2018. The delegation additionally comprised Messrs. G. Angelopoulos, UGS Vice President, J. C. Lyras, UGS Board Member and Chairman of its Foreign Affairs Committee, D. Fafalios, UGS Board Member, Ms. K. Peppa, UGS Director General and Dr. K. Mitroussi, Senior Advisor. The purpose of the visit was to present the strategic role of Greek shipping for US and international trade and ultimately for the welfare of all nations.

“The importance of Greek shipping, which controls over 20% of the global fleet, and the indispensable service it has consistently provided to the US economy were widely acknowledged and appreciated by top officials in the US Government and its Agencies as well as by members of the US Congress. We appreciate the warm welcome the UGS delegation received and the most constructive discussions that were held”, Mr. Veniamis stated.

Topical issues of mutual interest were on the agenda, such as the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships and the relevant outcome of the recent IMO MEPC72, the 2020 0.5% marine fuel sulphur cap, the implementation of the ballast water management regulations, the Basel Accord and ship financing, the serious problem of large scale migration at sea, as well as the need to preserve the principles of free and open markets and of fair competition in global trade. All parties agreed on the usefulness to continue an open and constructive dialogue on the above issues.

In particular, the UGS delegation had the honour to be warmly received by Mrs. Elaine Chao, US Secretary of Transportation, Mr. Jeffrey Rosen, Deputy Secretary of Transportation and Rear Admiral Mark Buzby, Maritime Administrator (MARAD). “The Secretary showed appreciation and full understanding of the Greek shipping’s continuous commitment to the US as its most reliable and long-standing strategic and commercial partner”, Mr. Veniamis said.

The UGS also visited the headquarters of the US Coast Guard and met with its Commandant, Admiral Paul Zukunft and his team. The traditionally excellent cooperation and common understanding on many issues was reaffirmed.

The UGS delegation with Mrs. E. Chao, US Secretary of Transportation

In addition, the UGS delegation met with a number of important key figures of the US administration and its authorities. These include: Mr. Alexander Gray, Special Advisor of President Trump and Deputy Director at the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy; Messrs. Andrew Rollo and Andrew Lorenz, Directors for Trade and Investment at the National Security Council; Mr. Hugo Yon, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation at the US Department of State; Mr. Daniel Mullaney, Assistant US Trade Representative for Europe and the Middle East; Mr. Michael Khouri, Acting Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission; as well as high-ranking officials from the US Customs and Border Protection, the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy.

Apart from the above, the UGS had meetings with Congressmen, Messrs. John Garamendi, Gus Bilirakis, Charlie Crist, John Sarbanes, with Senators, Messrs. Dan Sullivan and Chris Van Hollen and with leading members of the Greek-American community and the Greek Ambassador to the USA, Mr. Haris Lalacos. In parallel, the UGS met with private shipping organisations and other stakeholders, such as with the Agriculture Transportation Coalition and the National Mining Association.

All participants from the US side acknowledged the exceptional performance of Greek shipping through the decades. They also showed particular interest in the geopolitical significance of Greece in the current fluid and uncertain situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.

“This visit confirmed our strong and sincere ties with the US and reaffirmed our sustained commitment to the provision of reliable, efficient and quality shipping services to the world”, Mr. Veniamis remarked.

The UGS President, Mr. T. Veniamis, with Admiral P. Zukunft, US Coast Guard Commandant