Among Greek shipping companies that see the benefits of developing management activities to third-party ships, Costamare stands out.
The owner of 56 containerships this year forged a new joint venture with V.Ships Greece, creating a separate cell in the local V.Ships office to take over management of 22 Costamare boxships and offer management services to other owners.
The joint co-operation arrangement is expected to allow V.Group to benefit from Costamare’s penetration of the Greek container market, while enabling Costamare to benefit from the global reach of the V.Ships organisation and office network.
Third-party clients joining the cell can take advantage of the same high quality, expanded resources and cost benefits.
“This new cell is a great example of how we seek innovative business solutions to ensure that we adapt to challenging market conditions, while gaining the operational flexibility needed to ensure our continued growth,” says Costamare chief executive Kostis Konstantakopoulos.
“It is mainly for flexibility and benchmarking. We did not do it to make money from shipmanagement as such. But it is in order to save money and especially over a longer period you can generate significantly better results.
“I am sure that we will have a better overall cost without changing the standard of the operation and perhaps we will even improve it.”
The Tsakos Group formed its joint venture with Columbia Shipmanagement in 2010 to create efficiencies and provide technical and operational management services, primarily within the Greece-based market.
An equal partnership, Tsakos Columbia Shipmanagement, manages the vessels of publicly listed tanker arm Tsakos Energy Navigation, which counts the co-venture among its competitive advantages.
“We believe the expertise, scale and scope of TCM are key components in maintaining low operating costs, efficiency, quality and safety,” it says.
“In addition, we believe that TCM has the ability to spread costs over a larger vessel base than that previously of Tsakos Shipping, thereby capturing even greater economies of scale that may lead to additional cost savings for us.”
Another Greece-based publicly listed company, Star Bulk Carriers, has begun directly providing third-party management alongside its own fleet to give itself economies of scale.
It has already taken three privately owned bulkers under technical management for its chairman Petros Pappas and equity partner Oaktree, and three more third-party vessels will arrive by August.
It is also providing partial management — mainly insurance and purchasing — for seven product tankers acquired recently by the Pappas group.
“It is completely different if you go with a larger fleet,” says chief executive Spyros Capralos. “We are very transparent and can provide a good service.
“It creates a second line of business for us, and as we are growing the fleet we are hiring good new people, which is another way we can differentiate ourselves.”
Star Bulk owns 13 bulkers and is looking to grow the owned fleet. However, with managed tonnage, the company projects it will be managing at least 35 ships in two years’ time.
“We won’t become rich that way, but definitely it allows us to attract better human resources and helps us to get better results from our own vessels,” says Mr Capralos.
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