Margetis, as the Founder of Margetis Maritime Consulting, could you please brief us on the early years of your Company?
I founded Margetis Maritime Consulting in 2006. At that time, I was the sole surveyor in the Company, a “one-man” show as it is usually referred to, along with my Administrative Assistant, Katerina. We initially occupied a small office space in the heart of Piraeus. We have come a long way since then, presently, Margetis Maritime Consulting employs another six (6) full time surveyors in Piraeus and has expanded in another five (5) locations around the world.
What are the areas of services your Company undertakes?
The Company Structure has been divided into four (4) divisions:
The Survey and Technical Consulting division, mostly undertakes assignments pertaining Technical and Insurance matters, such as Claim handling, Damage Surveys, Condition Surveys and general Technical Consulting on behalf of Hull & Machinery Underwriters, P&I Clubs, Insurance Brokers, Solicitors and Shipowners.
The Yachting division, headed by Mr. Nick Giannakopoulos, a very knowledgeable and reputable Yacht expert in Greece, undertaking all sorts of technical assignments, surveys and consulting on small crafts up to Mega and Super Yachts.
The Ship-repairing / Shipyard Representation division, headed by Mr. Prokopis Pyrris, Representing more than 50 Shipyards around the world and assisting Shipowners in efficiently arranging Dry-docking, as well as afloat repairs around the World.
Finally, our “Offshore, Energy – Oil & Gas” division, which is headed by Mr. Antonis Panagiotareas and Kent Dangtran in Houston Office, a location with great expertise in such field.
Could you please elaborate on the various Offices you have aboard?
Starting in 2011, our Company became International, with the establishment of our Istanbul Office. Subsequently, we established offices in Montenegro, Houston, Split and earlier this year in Shanghai. In all our locations, our Staff are well experienced Marine Engineers and/or Naval Architects, with diverse knowledge of the local market, the ports and terminals, the repair facilities, the Shipyards and local rules and regulations. For example, in Istanbul we have recently recruited the previous Harbour Master of the Port of Istanbul. In Houston, Antonis Panagiotareas has (among others), become very efficient and competent in assisting vessels, crews and Managers in dealing with Coast Guard Inspections and arranging repairs. In Shanghai Zou Zheng has a great wealth of experience in working with various Shipyards, being very valuable also to our Ship-repair division. Finally, Petar and Dragan in Montenegro and Split, cover the entire Adriatic Sea, A very busy location in small crafts, Yachts and Superyachts.
However, you do have additional collaborations around the Word?
Indeed, we have created a network of correspondents in various other key ports, including Singapore, Dubai, Miami, Mumbai and Port Elizabeth. We cooperate with independent surveyors there, aiming to provide fast response to our clients and competitive prices, as majority of costs (such as travelling) are eliminated.
Greek Shipping Companies control about 18% of the world fleet. What is the extent of our cooperation with the Greek Ship-Owners?
Margetis Maritime Consulting has an extensive and very close cooperation with Greek Shipping Companies. On a yearly basis, we may cooperate and get involved with more than 80 Greek Shipping Companies, undertaking a variety of projects on their behalf or on behalf of their Hull & Machinery Underwriters or their P&I Clubs.
Do you also cooperate with Foreign Ship-Owners?
Although majority of our clientele is indeed within the Greek Shipping community, through our Foreign offices, we do cooperate and get involved with foreign companies, especially Turkish, American and Croatian, as well as Companies based in the Persian Gulf and Middle East.
Do you think that the Greek Ship-repair base could again show signs of growth?
I have a strong belief in the capabilities and growth prospects of the Greek Ship-repairing facilities, especially the facilities in Perama. It is highlighted that the “Perama method” of repairs is almost unique around the world. In almost all other parts of the world, major repairs are undertaken by organized Shipyards, where typically Ship Managers are deprived of the choice of subcontractors, but rather have to deal and negotiate directly with the Shipyard Management. The “Perama method” enables Ship Managers to select their own contractors (usually a multiple number of them) and manage themselves the repair process, rather than having the Shipyard personnel run the show. Greek Shipping Companies have very competent Technical Departments and can carry out such complex tasks, which however maintains the costs lower. I am very optimistic that common sense between all parties involved will eventually prevail and the Perama zone will see again bright days.
To the contrary, I am not very optimistic about the organized Shipyards in Greece, where legal or financial issues and aspects have hindered their operation and I am afraid the problems are more complex without any straight forward solutions.
Do you believe that BREXIT provides an opportunity for Piraeus to become the “New City”?
I always thought that Piraeus could become the new City, as during the last 10 years (at least), has huge competitive advantages over other maritime hubs. Piraeus is full of competent and well educated labour force, who thrive in the maritime filed, being part of the great Greek maritime tradition. In addition, the real estate prices have significantly fallen over the last several years, whilst infrastructure has improved enormously (including telecommunication and broadband internet). For now, the legal framework for establishing Shipping Companies in Greece, appears to be stable and not yet challenged. In this respect, I see no reason why Piraeus cannot have the competitive advantage over London, but also other maritime hubs, such as Dubai, Singapore and Shanghai. I think the BREXIT could become a very good motive for acceleration of this process.
Do you consider that the Shipping sector is under the recovery stage?
It seems that the charter rates, in both the dry and wet market, are recovering and everyone hopes that this recovery is sustainable. I consider that the slow-down in new building deliveries and the continuation of scrapping has assisted, as well as the World economic recovery and growth. I think that it is the first time in several years that optimism appears more widespread.
Margetis, please let us know of your Firm’s future plans and targets
Margetis Maritime Consulting will continue to evolve and expand in the near future. We are scheduling new announcements as much as new locations are concerned, adding new hubs to our word-wide network. In addition, we are investing in human resources (just this past few months, we welcomed 2 new surveyors in Piraeus and 2 new surveyors in our Istanbul office). As always, we are committed to provide the outmost of quality services an despite the expansion of our Firm, we still consider we can offer custom and boutique type services. As we typically say, “more is yet to come”, and we are very much looking forward to that.
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