Representatives from both the political and business constituents of the Polish and Greek maritime industries joined forces on Thursday 9th February in Athens at a high-level meeting aimed at promoting business opportunities between the two countries. 17 shipowner groups, 4 shipbuilders, 7 engineering/technology companies, 5 consultancy companies and 2 Classification Societies attended this unique and pioneering event which was co-organized by the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Athens and Mare Forum.
In her opening address, Her Excellency, the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland in Greece, Mrs. Anna Barbarzak, stated: "I am strongly convinced that Polish and Greek partners have a great potential for cooperation and can find many opportunities for mutually beneficial strategies. The sea has marked the direction for many generations. And - with the promise of job places, opportunities for development for ambitious young and talented people, demand for new scientific, technological, and IT inventions - it will pave the way into the future for new generations".
Mr. Apostolos Poulovassilis, CEO of Aegean Shipping Management, chaired the meeting and moderated a number of presentations given by both Polish and Greek participants which identified key similarities but also important differences between the two maritime clusters, together with an outline of the strengths and weaknesses of each. Mr. Poulovassilis summed up by stating: "Both the Greek and Polish Maritime Clusters are key pillars of European Shipping. The forthcoming Environmental Regulatory timeline will certainly be a driver for many of the opportunities of collaboration between Polish and Greek companies and we hope that future similar events such as the next planned Mare Forum Poland in May 2017 can help explore these synergies further and provide a framework of increased business cooperation between the two countries."
Mr. George Gratsos, President HELMEPA, gave a detailed description of the Greek Shipping sector and stated: "Even though the Greek owned/managed fleet is the single largest globally, the Greek Maritime Cluster is disproportionately weak in terms of the support services it can provide compared to other clusters in the UK, Norway etc."
Furthermore, a presentation of the capabilities and differentiators of the Polish shipbuilding / shiprepair / manufacturing sectors was provided by a number of key shipyards and design companies, following which, a number of individual B2B discussions took place which helped explain these capabilities even more.
The key conclusions from the meeting were that Polish shipyards and manufacturers can provide specialized experience, quality and technology in a competitive offering, giving Greek ship owners an attractive option for their fleet retrofitting/repair requirements in the future, and thus potentially increase the number of Greek-managed ships going to Polish shipyards for drydock. It was also recognized that shipbuilding in niche sectors could also be of interest to some Greek companies.
Deputy Director, Department for Economic Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Poland, Mr Maciej Falkowski explained a number of reasons that the Polish Shipbuilding Industry could be of interest for Greek partners and concluded: "The maritime industries of Poland and Greece are in many respect complimentary as was voiced by many of the participants. Polish shipyard industry is a stable sector with secure jobs, innovative solutions and increasing market share whereas Greek merchant fleet is continuing to grow and Greek owners are still investing in buying ships".
Source: MARE Forum
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