UK maritime services’ expertise in the spotlight at Maritime London and British Embassy event in Athens

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H.E. Matthew Lodge, UK Ambassador to Greece, delivered a keynote address at the ‘Securing Your Ships from External Disruptions: Safety and Decarbonisation Perspectives’ event organised jointly by Maritime London and the British Embassy at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre in Athens this week as part of Posidonia 2024.

Alluding to shipping’s role as a major pillar of the Greek economy, Ambassador Lodge pointed out that “the maritime sector is also one of the major income generators for the United Kingdom and the City of London. The UK today is one of, if not the, leading global centres for maritime services with around a 25% share of the overall market.

“Greek shipowners are amongst the City’s biggest clients for legal, insurance, financial and brokerage services,” he continued. “Many made London their home during the first half of the past century and even if they have now moved elsewhere, many connections still endure.

From major legal firms, marine insurance, P&I clubs and brokerage services to one of the largest ship-classification societies, the UK offers “a wealth of world- class companies providing expertise across all maritime services sectors,” he added, also referencing the growing number of UK maritime technology companies. offering innovative, cutting-edge solutions in line with the need for green shipping.

At the ensuing seminar, the opening session on ‘Ensuring Safety in a Heightened-Risk Environment’ (pictured) considered the commercial implications of global trade disruption as a consequence of the well-publicised choke points in key shipping routes, and how the industry could work smarter to ensure the safety of assets and importantly seafarers. The panel included Eline Muller, Senior Executive, Multraship Towage & Salvage and Chair, International Salvage Union (ISU) Salvage Sub-Committee; Ben Palmer OBE, President of Inmarsat Maritime; Dr George D. Pateras, Deputy Chairman, Contships Management Inc and President, Hellenic Chamber of Shipping; Gordon Robertson, Head of Greece, NorthStandard; and Sally-Ann Underhill, Partner, Transportation, Reed Smith LLP.

Panel moderator Jos Standerwick, Chief Executive, Maritime London, said: “Global supply chains are under a perfect storm of geopolitical pressures and ships and seafarers are quite literally caught in the crosshairs. While the shipping industry has once again demonstrated the flexibility and resilience that is taken for granted, we need to learn lessons from the past and be more proactive.”

Entitled ‘Tramp Shipping – the Elephant in the Decarbonisation Room?’ the second session started with a scene-setting presentation delivered by Stephen Gordon, Managing Director of Clarkson Research, followed by a discussion. The panel included Nick Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Lloyd’s Register; Harry Fafalios, Chairman, Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee (GSCC); Michael Parker, Chairman, Global Shipping, Logistics & Offshore, Citi; and Charis Plakantonaki, Chief Strategy Officer, Star Bulk Carriers Corp.

Proceedings were rounded off by the UK Ambassador’s Reception – traditionally one of Posidonia’s ‘hottest ticket’ social occasions. Over 150 invited guests attended the event, this year held on the rooftop terrace of the Stavros Niarchos Centre as the Ambassador’s Residence – former home of Greek statesman and Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos – is undergoing important renovation work.

The Maritime London/British Embassy event was organised in partnership with Inmarsat, Lloyd’s Register, Lloyd’s List and UK Shipping Concierge, and supported by the UK Department for Trade & Business.

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