Speaking at the bi-annual Posidonia shipping exhibition in Athens, ABS Chairman and CEO Robert D. Somerville expressed his thanks to the Greek shipowning community for the tremendous level of support they have given to ABS during the current shipbuilding boom. “In just the first four months of this year Greece-domiciled owners have placed orders for 59 new vessels to ABS class,” Somerville said.
“This continued support has brought the ABS share of all worldwide orders for new ships by Greek owners to a market leading 30 percent, demonstrating their confidence in the superior service and responsive technical support that we are able to provide here in Greece, in Korea, China, Japan and all the other shipbuilding centers that have attracted orders from the Greek shipping community,” he added.
This level of support exceeds the 22 percent share of the existing Greek-domiciled and controlled fleet currently maintained to ABS class. “Our relationship with Greek shipowners stretches back some 60 years to the time when the U.S. government made a 104 strong fleet of surplus post-World War II Liberty ships available to Greek owners at favorable terms,” Somerville noted. “Those ships helped the nation rebuild its merchant fleet after sustaining devastating losses in support of the Allied cause. And since those vessels were ABS classed, they also formed the foundation of ABS activities here in Greece.”
ABS was the first foreign class society to open a technical and engineering office in Greece to provide more responsive service to its clients. This has been steadily expanded to meet the needs of the rapidly growing Greek-managed fleet and is supplemented by an active survey department, a comprehensive training program offered through a specially built facility and a growing portfolio of related services intended to assist owners to improve their operating efficiencies.
“If the fleets controlled by Greek owners from the other traditional centers of London and New York are included, they jointly represent the largest and single most important share of the existing ABS classed fleet, and of all the tonnage currently on-order to ABS class worldwide,” Somerville noted.
“We have been using the opportunity provided by Posidonia to listen closely to the needs of our owners and will be initiating an active development program, with a particular emphasis on improving the environmental aspects of their operations without increasing net costs or sacrificing operational efficiencies, to meet those needs.”
The ABS Chairman paid tribute to both the business acumen and the maritime professionalism of the Greek maritime community. “Greece is the center of world shipowning activity,” he said. “The modernization of the Greek-controlled fleet that is taking place through the most active newbuilding program ever undertake by Greek shipowners will secure that leading position for many years to come,” he added. “ABS has been proud to serve this market for the last 60 years and we relish the challenges and opportunities of continuing to meet and exceed the needs of future generations of our valued Greek clients.”