Greek Shipping Weathers the Storm

Greek Shipping


Update: See this recent CNBC report for an update on the
likelihood of Greek shipping companies helping their country
out of the present debacle.


As the Greek government and European Union (EU) ministers continue their ongoing game of chicken with the country’s economic future, little has been said or written about the impact on the Greek shipping industry and its relation to the world economy.  While Greece accounts for just 0.4% of the world’s economy (source: Bloomberg News), Greek owned shipping, and its handful of billionaire owners (think Aristotle Onassis), move 15% of all the world’s ocean freight.  In a world where 95 percent of all freight moves by ocean, you would think that the consequences of a Greek financial meltdown would be catastrophic to shipping, and thus the world economy as a whole. Fortunately, such is not likely to be the case.

Shipping in Greece has long been a source of national pride. Greek shipping tycoons are typically happy to speak with the press and are quick to brag about their expansive wealth, their collection of super-yachts and palatial homes, and the fact that Greek shipowners command the biggest merchant fleet on earth. However,  these days, getting Greek shipowners to talk about their wealth — or how they might help solve the the country’s seemingly insurmountable economic problems, the aftershocks from which could threaten the financial stability of the entire European Union — is like trying to interview Blackbeard about where the treasure is hidden.

The question is, will the handful of shipowners, who single handedly comprise the wealthiest segment of the Greek population, make the sort of financial investment at home to create jobs and spur investment that could save their country? The answer is anyone’s guess. For almost two years now the Union of Greek Shipowners has urged its members to avoid talking to the press at all.

As the talks drag on and this weekend’s referendum seems to repudiate the EU’s latest bailout offer, the Greek shipping tycoons remain seemingly indifferent to the chaos at home. As recently reported in the UK’s The Guardian newspaper, shipping may be a source of Greek national pride, but it is also a source of resentment. Greece’s 1967 constitution stipulates that the industry pays no taxes on the international earnings it brings into the country. As such, the owners have little to fear from either the debt crisis or an exit from the euro.

“It’s not really affecting us because we’re not Greek companies: we’re based abroad,” said a tanker owner who requested anonymity in view of the sensitivity of the situation. “The law allows us to have a ship registered in Liberia or Panama and an office in Greece. If everything collapses, we can leave the next day and establish in Cyprus or wherever.

“Our business is done in US dollars and shipping companies don’t just have one account in one country,” he said. So, not even the imposition of capital controls on Monday had any impact on Greece’s ship owners.

What will be the final outcome in the ongoing Greek circus in Europe is anyone’s guess at this point. However, one thing is clear. Whether the coin of the realm in Athens turns out to be Euro’s, drachma or dollars, the billionaire boys club of Greece seems certain to navigate the choppy waters and sail on smoothly as their predecessors have done for thousands of years.

10 Great Road Trip Movies

Thelma and Louise

Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon in Thelma & Louise (1991).

Summer is officially upon us and for many, that brings the call of the open road and the need for adventure. For those of you who are smitten with wanderlust and born to be wild, we present our list of 10 great road trip movies. It is certainly not an exhaustive list, or even the “10 Best of All Time”.  The variety of movie genres and enormous Hollywood library of buddy pictures and road trip films make that virtually impossible.

What does all of this have to do with shipping and logistics you ask?  Very little, but to quote Jack Nicholson in The Shining, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

Join us as we get your motor runnin’ and head out on the highway, looking for adventure…

Easy-RiderEasy Rider (1969)
Director: Dennis Hopper

Jack Nicholson, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper star in this quintessential 60’s cult classic of the open road, as the three head for Mardi Gras in search of free love and adventure. It has inspired countless motorcycle purchases and sold millions copies of Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild”.

VacationNational Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
Director: Harold Ramis

We all remember those family trips of our youth. Odds are, this is how you remember them. Join Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) and his dysfunctional family in this epic, lunatic adventure to Wally World in The Family Truckster. Are we there yet?

Thelma & LouiseThelma & Louise (1991)
Director: Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott proves that epic road trips aren’t just for guys. Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis star as an Arkansas waitress and bored housewife who hit the road in a ’66 Thunderbird.  Includes a great bit by Brad Pitt: “Well now, I’ve always believed that if done properly, armed robbery doesn’t have to be a totally unpleasant experience.”

Director: Alexander Payne

How anybody ever successfully pitched a wine-tasting buddy movie, we’ll never know. Nominated for Best Picture, this movie nearly single-handedly killed the Merlot industry. Paul Giamatti and Thomas Hayden Church star as middle aged guys with not much to show for it, when they head out to California’s wine country for adventure. As funny as it painful in its portrayal of middle-age disappointment.

DuelDuel (1971)
Director: Steven Spielberg

Spielberg’s directorial debut. This made-for-TV movie is a cult classic. Dennis Weaver stars in a nightmarish tale of a salesman being relentlessly pursued across California’s desert by a rusty, menacing, smoke-spewing big-rig. Self-preservation instincts drive this mild-mannered salesman to extremes. Sound strange? It is. But it is also very, very good.


[Read more…]

Introducing the Self-Driving Truck


Self Driving Truck
Not to be outdone by Google, German vehicle manufacturer Daimler AG announced the introduction of a self-driving truck yesterday. U.S. based Freightliner, in turn, has been given a license by the State of Nevada to begin testing the vehicles on the road.

From port automation, to Amazon delivery via drones and now this, the times, they are a changing.

For more details, see this recent story from CNN on the latest technology to be introduced into a rapidly changing industry.

We Want to Meet Your Friends


The Beatles sang “I get by with a little help from my friends” way back in 1967. Truer words were never spoken.

We all need friends and we want to meet yours. To prove it, we recently rolled out an exciting new referral program. Refer a friend to us and when they place an order of $500 or more, both you and your friend each receive a $50 Visa gift card!

What’s the catch you ask? Everyone knows that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

No catch. It’s that simple.

Referral Cartoon2To find out more, contact our customer service team for details, or click here for program rules.