The UGS dynamic presence at the Delphi Economic Forum VIII

Piraeus, 28.4.2023


The UGS dynamic presence at the Delphi Economic Forum VIII


In the context of the Delphi Economic Forum VIII, the Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS), through its President Ms. Melina Travlos at the opening ceremony and through other members of its Executive Committee and Board of Directors at the discussions about shipping, sent its messages from the emblematic area for Greece and the whole world, Delphi.

In particular, the UGS representatives talked about the various challenges the shipping sector faces at both European and global level, emphasizing the strategic importance of Greek shipping and the commitment of the shipping sector to its decarbonization.  

The UGS representatives, inter, alia, stated that not more, but better regulation is needed and that there is no one size that fits all. EU’s environmental and political agenda should take into account the indispensable, strategic role of EU shipping, while it is vital that safety is paramount as the guiding principle in all environmental regulations. It was also underlined that Greek shipping is well-placed to respond and adapt to the ESG era, being a leader in investing in innovative, technological developments.

Ms. Melina Travlos, President of the Union of Greek Shipowners, institutionally representing Greek shipping as the leading sector of the national economy, stated at the Opening Session:

"Greek shipping is Europe's superweapon. It is a national economic partner, providing billions of euros in maritime foreign exchange and hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect jobs, steadily investing in various sectors of our national economy. It is a national asset; it is our national pride. The national beneficence and social solidarity towards the motherland and the Greeks are consistent, silent, and broad. Our seamanship is our history. This new era has a new challenge, a new philosophy. The one where "business" and "well-being" coexist. The one where the human is in the epicenter. The one where the "I" recedes and the "we" retakes its place. Sustainable growth requires sustainable people. So, let's put the parameter of 'well-being' at the heart of development in this new era. The challenge, but also the solution, is to protect the human value and coexistence. Our future, the future of humanity, is the human himself. The future is us!"

Mr. A. Lemos, Vice President of the Union of Greek Shipowners, referred during the Fireside Chat, inter alia, to the following:

“EU Horizontal policy and regulations often fails to take into consideration the unique features of the shipping industry and the socio-economic impacts of said regulations. There are shortcomings in the revised EU ETS which includes shipping. It is vital to try to shape the new regulations so that they can achieve their goals, without overly burdening EU citizens who are ultimately the end-consumer.

Greek shipping is well-placed to respond and adapt to the new era as it has done with all past regulatory developments. It will continue its deep-rooted commitment to the protection of the environment.

Shipping brings untold benefits to the world. The most important is its contribution to global trade and by extension globalisation, which is one of the great contributors to a more peaceful, fraternal world, one in which disparate societies can co-exist to each other’s mutual benefit. This is because global trade, 90% of which is transported by sea, connects people, countries and economies.

It is characteristic that shipping was the only industry which continued to perform, despite enormous challenges, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, something which came at great cost, to the too often overlooked by, the international community, seafarers and their families.”

Mr. D. J. Fafalios, UGS Secretary, underlined at the session “Charting A Course To A Sustainable & Efficient Industry”, in which he participated:

“The Greek shipping community is committed to shipping’s decarbonisation and has always supported global policies based on sustainable, viable and workable solutions adopted at the IMO. Global regulations are necessary to avoid distortion of competition. The shipping industry will fully embrace new technologies as they became mature but there must be also a balance between efficiency and decarbonization. 

Most importantly, it is vital that safety is paramount as the guiding principle in all environmental regulations. Alternative fuels and technologies must be safe, cost-effective, fit-for-purpose and available worldwide in sufficient quantities. And these new tools must come from out of the shipping sector stakeholders, under whose remit their production and supply falls.  In any case, there cannot be protection of the environment without protection of safety at sea, that is, safety of crews, safety of vessels, safety of fuels.”

Mr. J. Xylas, Treasurer of the UGS, during the “The Growing Pressure & Urgency For Change” session, said:

“The commitment and coordination of all relevant stakeholders is vital for shipping’s decarbonization. Collaboration is necessary among all in order to come up with feasible and fit-for purpose solutions. We need better regulation, not more regulation. Proliferation of private initiatives risks seriously damaging the efficiency of a vital internationally regulated regime.

The shipping industry has a lot of specialized expertise about what can be workable for the needs and the modus operandi of each sector. Not one size fits all. 

The human element is obviously crucial and seafarer safety is the first priority. Crews and shore-based personnel in shipping companies and ports will need to be retrained and follow the technological developments.”

Mr. J. C. Lyras, UGS Board Member, stated during his participation at the “Overlook And Franco-Hellenic Perspectives On The Maritime Industries” session:

“The shipping industry, which is already by far the most energy efficient mode of transport, is fully committed to its decarbonization, notwithstanding that it is a fossil fuel captive and hard-to-abate sector. Its decarbonization, primarily requires the production in adequate quantities of alternative sustainable fuels and technologies which are, as yet, unavailable and the cooperation and commitment of a significant number of other stakeholders, like fuel producers and suppliers, shipyards and engine manufacturers. Bulk/tramp shipping, carrying 86% of the world’s seaborne trade in fuels, raw materials, cereals, and other agricultural products, faces extra challenges due to its global itinerant nature and its modus operandi, which includes the structural role of the commercial operator – charterer. 

The strategic role of EU shipping, which guarantees the security of supply and the diversity of the sources of EU’s energy and other essential goods must be better acknowledged by the EU institutions and policy makers. They can do so by regulating shipping with a primarily Flag State perspective and with due regard to EU shipping’s need to remain sustainable and globally competitive.”