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Greek owners turn to outsourcing to complement in-house management

You’ve been at the helm of V.Ships Greece, part of the global shipmanagement company V.Group, for seven years — how has the market changed in this time?

When I first took on the role of managing director, the local market was sceptical about third-party management companies, with many outsourcing partial services to test our approach. Now, however, Greek shipowners are seeing us as a complement to in-house management to utilise our global scale and local expertise. 

Indeed, with Greece maintaining a leading position among shipping nations, we are increasingly seeing a large appetite for outsourcing by Greek principals as they see the value from a global player with local expertise like V.

The number of Greek vessels under your management has grown in recent years — what do you put this down to?

We are constantly evaluating and honing our strategy to prove that V.Ships can deliver a service that aligns with customer expectations and form truly value-adding partnerships with our customers. Vision, reliability and excellence are our watchwords.

Being part of V.Group affords outsourcers access to unrivalled resources and a level of scale that can benefit both parties. Shipowners can also tap into the experience we’ve built up over many decades and benefit from our strong supplier relationships. Many owners entering new segments, such as liquefied natural gas or passenger shipping, rely on our expertise in these areas.

Being much more than a shipmanager is an attractive proposition too as we deliver a range of marine services to the shipping industry — from crew welfare services such as catering, digital wallets and travel, to supply chain, insurance and technical services. In fact, we serve around 3,500 vessels globally. It is great to see more partners joining us on this journey.

What are your aims in the region for the next five years?

Greece is one of the biggest shipowning countries in the world and we see huge opportunities for growth which is why we have invested to the extent we have and will continue to do so.

We don’t set targets in terms of the number of ships we want to run. We prefer to set targets related to quality and our ability to continue managing more vessels in line with the level of quality our customers expect from us. We don’t always get it right — no one does. But we are certainly trying to ensure that we provide the highest quality services that our clients can get.

To what extent is decarbonisation shaping your strategy?

Decarbonisation is the biggest transformation our industry will see in our lifetimes, and collaboration is essential to understand the complexities, challenges and solutions. We are continuing to invest time, money and resources to support our clients in dealing with challenges associated with decarbonisation targets. This impacts how we manage our vessel portfolio and we’re working closely with our Greek customers to comply with Carbon Intensity Indicator and Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index requirements, and to assist them in setting and reaching their decarbonisation targets.

Beyond decarbonisation, our strategy is also being shaped by other “disruptors” as we refer to them internally — regulation, digitalisation and crew scarcity. These factors require scale and expertise to tackle them effectively and we are envisaging more companies consequently considering outsourcing.

With the rise of digitalisation and new technologies, how do you ensure your teams keep pace when it comes to training?

With 44,000 seafarers and almost 3,000 onshore colleagues around the globe, we go to great lengths to ensure all our people are as well trained as possible and this includes our Greek team. As we strive towards finding safe solutions to achieve decarbonisation aims, and embrace digitalisation, it is essential that adequate training programmes are developed and updated. There is a huge amount of research and development taking place, especially in relation to decarbonisation and new fuels, but we must take our seafarers on this journey, also catering for those in the younger generations who may expect different ways of training than what we have developed in the past.

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