November 25, 2020

First Cayman Islands Shipping Summit was a great success

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india-shipping-imageMare Forum and Orecoal presented the 1st Cayman Islands Shipping Summit 2013 last Monday (4) at the Marriott Hotel, West Bay Road, Grand Cayman.

The website: (http://www.mareforum.com/Cayman_Islands_Shipping_Summit_2013_Programme.htm) announced “Cayman – the crossroads to the Americas- examining maritime, shipping, environment, ship finance and business opportunities in the Americas.”

Philip Embiricos

Philip Embiricos

Looking at the headlines it seems like scary things await us going into 2013. World GDP is set to fall due to European economic problems, the lingering oversupply of new buildings and not enough demand to absorb them, and greater regulatory demands. While last year the belief was that China would bring the world out of the crisis, now it seems that China is having problems of its own, with the inflation risk, tightening credit and weakening demand. All of the above directly affect the shipping industry with the result that the finance that used to be available to shipping companies has dried up. Only the top 15% of the largest shipping companies are said to be able to get financing from the traditional sources, granted at a higher rate. But it seems that for everyone else that shop has closed.

pushing a monster 2It is in these times that the savviest entrepreneurs look elsewhere and find new opportunities. Enter the Cayman Islands offshore financial industry, with its shipping history, direct ties to United Kingdom and developed stable economic and political climate. This combination makes the Cayman Islands the fifth largest banking centre in the world and number one in hedge funds. As a result Cayman Islands have over 800 marine companies registered here. And it seems to be very reasonable that the shipping industry step in and take advantage of these financial opportunities.

This summit aimed to analyze the pros and cons of shipping industry doing business offshore, and in particular the Cayman Islands, as it is in the crossroads between North and South America. Looking ahead, the Summit tried to predict the trends, market outlooks, available financing, best new technologies for environmental sustainability and ways of generating new businesses while still making profits.

The organisers of the Summit were Jannis Kostoulas, Managing Director, MARE FORUM and Karen Kokabi, Founder, ORECOAL & Blueship. The keynote speakers were Nicky Pappadakis, Chairman Emeritus Intercargo, Chairman, A.G. Pappadakis & Co., and Cayman islands Premier, Hon. Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, LLB, BA (Hons), JP.

It was a packed agenda with the first session having the theme “Advantages and Disadvantages in doing business offshore, particularly in the Cayman Islands” that was sub-divided into:

  • What are the pros and cons for registering ships in the Cayman Islands?
  • Is shipping a global industry or a series of global villages?
  • Will the tax havens come under scrutiny from the governments looking for ways to raise more capital?
  • What are the main sources of finance located in the Caymans and how can ship owners take advantage of them?
  • What are the strategies for a successful maritime cluster in the Cayman Islands?
  • What new opportunities can offshore provide for the shipping industry?
  • Flexibility of registering ships compared to other countries?

The second session had the headlined theme “Shipping Markets Outlook and Economic World View. Sources of Finance” and this was subdivided into:

  • Geopolitical considerations; exploring the risks and rewards
  • As the global economy slows down, going forward how is the international trade-growth affected?
  • International trade and commodities outlook – are trading patterns changing?
  • What’s the outlook of oil, gas and coal production and consumption?
  • How long before the shipping industry sees the start of demand bouncing back?
  • Shipping markets in focus per ship type, containers, dry bulk, liquid bulk, containers, offshore, cruise ships and yachts.
  • What are the views from charterers, shipowners and broker-analysts?
  • Could the Cayman Islands be a new source of ship finance due to its position as the fifth largest banking center in the world?
  • What are the realities and consequences facing the ship owners in today’s uncertain financial times, and what incentives do shipping companies have in leaving their home base and relocating offshore?
  • What are the challenges facing the shipping industry in finding new sources of finance?
  • How much capital is available in today’s shipping market?
  • Since the Cayman Islands have grown to be the world’s leading offshore hedge fund jurisdiction, could this be a potential new lucrative source for shipping finance?
  • In today’s economic climate, it looks like only the reputable ship owners with good track records can continue to tap the capital markets, what are the options for the other smaller companies? What are the advantages of registering mega-yachts and ships under the Cayman Islands flag? Some benefits include easier access to marine mortgages and financing because in order to register any marine asset one has to go through rigorous background and security checks. What are the tax benefits associated with the registration in the Cayman Islands?

The final session was the North American Marine Environmental Prevention Association (NAMEPA) Panel with the following themes:

  • Ongoing Trends in Shipping Innovations
  • How can policymakers and shipping market forces create synergy towards a sustainable shipping industry?
  • What are cruise ship environmental policies, ship safety and innovations?
  • How can we best address the environmental challenges in salvage removal?
  • How can we harmonize the international shipping community for more sustainable shipping and operations?
  • What is the best technology available due to the North American ECA (environmental controlled area). Will ship owners prefer to install a scrubber or change current engines to LNG fueled? Or to continue burning low sulfur fuel?

Other speakers included Joel Walton, CEO
Cayman Maritime Authority, Hilary McKenzie-Cahill, President of Marketing Cayman Enterprise City, Basil Mavroleon, Manager of the Projects Group at Charles R. Weber Company, Inc.
Managing Director of WeberSeas (Hellas) S. A., Gary Morgan, Director, Analyst Team, Clarksons, Evan Sproviero, Director, GMS (USA), Matt Sekela, President, Tactical Synergy, Philip Embiricos, Past President, BIMCO, Nicholas Mitsos, Chairman, EURAFRASIA GROUP, Clay Maitland, Chairman NAMEPA, Peter Glass, Marine Exhaust Solutions, Inc. Canada, Alexandra Anagnostis President/CEO Total Marine Solutions, Matthijs Schuiten,  Design & Proposal Engineer, Damen Services Damen Shipyards, Jan Fransen, Managing Director, Green Award, and Chris Dlugokecki
Country Manager USA, RINA USA Inc.

Philip Embiricos said, “The economics of the world, the economics of shipping are not so good right now. I’m not desperate because I’ve seen it before. In Greece, we say, ‘the sea never dies.’ That is a very important thing. here’s always that idea of shipping is the main form of transportation – 90 per cent of the goods in the world that are traded go into shipping. Eventually there will be a bounce. And eventually, a boom. You gentlemen that register ships, don’t worry. There are more ships and more ships coming.”

A warning came from Basil Mavroleon who said there were too many ships with it continuing to out space the demand for them.

“There is a real possibility of glut resulting if too many people take advantage of the prevailing low prices on building new ships,” he said, “Right now discipline in ordering is one of the only things that will save this market. And discipline in ordering and ship owners do not go together.”

Another speaker, Nicholas Mitsos, said China has made it a goal to target the Caribbean for investment, with some US$6B planned during the next few years. He gave an example as energy being one potential area.

“In Cayman, like most of the Caribbean, electricity is generated by burning diesel, and water is desalinated using electricity made by burning diesel. Meanwhile, China is a leader in alternative energy technology, including solar, smart grids and small liquefied natural gas,” Mitsos added.

Gary Morgan gave an overview of anticipated supply of and demand for oil in the world and said the numbers of refineries were growing in China and India. China was trying to keep up with its own domestic demand whilst India was trying to increase exports, he said.

After each session there was a conference discussion.

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