Nikos P. Tsakos: The Chian ‘pioneer’ of Greek Shipping

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With deep family roots in shipping and origin from Chios, Dr. Nikos P. Tsakos has left his own special legacy in Greek Shipping, having served from an early age as President of HELMEPA and then as President of INTERTANKO. .

After all, his “child” is Tsakos Energy Navigation (TEN), the American-listed company of Tsilos Tsakos, which is currently one of the strongest “players” in the global tanker and LNG market.

“Having studied abroad, especially in New York, I tried to combine traditional Shipping with the calls of the ’90s, at a time when technology startups were booming. This is how TEN, a Shipping Startup, came about,” he says. Dr. Tsakos Speaking about the founding of the shipping company in 1993. “I should probably have named it” “”, he adds jokingly.

TEN was listed directly on the Oslo Stock Exchange and has been listed on the New York market since 2002. “You are the most experienced tanker company listed,” the shipowner proudly points out, explaining that the decision to complicate the capital markets coincided with a period when the new type of tanker, the double-decker tanker, was being designed.

In fact, in addition to its impressive growth all these years of presence in the American Stock Exchange, TEN distributes uninterrupted dividends to its shareholders. “We have distributed about $ 600 million in dividends over the last 20 years,” said Dr. Tsakos, referring to an annual dividend yield of up to 5.5%.

Oilos Tsakou currently manages over 100 ships, of which 80 are tankers, 12 bulk carriers, 12 containerships and 3 LNG carriers. The first ships of the family are located in the mid-1800s, while the current image of Oilos was consolidated in the late 60’s by Captain Panagiotis Tsakos.

The “green” bet

The conversation then turns to the most “hot” topic of the maritime news, the “greening” of the fleets and the regulations imposed by bodies such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the European Union.

“Unfortunately, Shipping has a rather degraded role where all critical decisions are made and this is dangerous, because we often follow the decisions made by others who have nothing to do with the industry,” said Dr. T. knowledgeable of the developments from its successful course in INTERTANKO until 2019.

“I do not think there are many in the EU who understand the work of Shipping,” he said, commenting on the Brussels-proposed Measures, which have been criticized by the shipping community for their “regional character”.

“Shipping accounts for 75% of international trade, causing 2.8% of global pollution. If you put what is transported by cargo ships, the pollution would be hundreds of times higher. However, this does not seem to be particularly appreciated,” he said.

The Investment

At the same time, Dr. Tsakos calls on oil companies to proceed with solutions that have a direct impact on the environment. One solution he proposes is to carbonize current fuels. After all, as it has been noted in the past, there is a large scale of infrastructure for today’s fuels, from refineries to pipelines, which means that the cost of building such infrastructure for new forms of energy would be huge and environmentally friendly.

“At the moment, everything that has to do with oil has been demonized. However, if 1/10 of what is needed to switch to a new form of energy, in the cleanliness of the fuel, is invested, positive results will emerge,” he underlines.

Another solution, according to Dr. Tsakos, is slow steaming, that is, the reduction of ship speeds. “The ship does not need to travel continuously at 14-15 miles, it can reach its destination at 10”, he states characteristically.

However, Oilos Tsakou follows the calls of the customers and orders new ships with “green” specifications. In particular, TEN announced before the construction of 6 tankers, aframax type, dual fuel, with LNG combustion capability, with a provision for a long-term charter to a leading representative of the oil industry.

Dr. Tsakos characterizes LNG as a positive transitional solution to the “road” for zero emissions fuels. “Those who are more closely involved in LNG production believe that they can make it green enough to last beyond 2050,” he said.

Purchasing estimates

As it was said, Oilos Tsakou manages a wide range of ships, operating in all the main freight markets. Therefore, we could not help but ask Dr. Tsako about the course of the markets in 2022.

For the “sufferers”, last year, tankers, he notes that “they are waiting for the restart of the economy and the movements to roll the market. The good scenario is that something like this will happen after the Chinese New Year, next February or later. September 2022 “. However, TEN recently secured twelve long-term charters for fleet vessels with a total turnover of $ 500 million, proof that “the market is moving slowly but steadily,” says Dr. Tsakos.

For containerships, he notes that initially the coronavirus caused a “dullness”, but later the closure of the world at home and delays in the supply chain led to a “frenetic” rate of fares. In fact, Oilos Tsakou takes advantage of market conditions and sells ships at high prices, which he replaces with newly built ones.

Dr. Tsakos is also optimistic about the bulk cargo transportation sector. “It is in a healthy condition. It does not meet the crazy rhythms of containerships, but it remains on a positive trajectory,” he comments.

The seamanship

Finally, the discussion focuses on the critical issue for Greek Shipping in attracting young people to the seas. “In a country with such a tradition, it is crucial that we do not have at least 50,000 Greek sailors,” said Dr. Tsakos, focusing on the drastic reduction of our compatriots working on ships over the years.

“Today, the sailor does not stay for long, continuous periods on the ship, while he can, with a career of 8-10 years, and after gaining the required experience, staff the offices of the companies”, he reports on the benefits to the sea.

“We need to advertise our Shipping,” he concludes. It is noted that Oilos Tsakou has been distinguished from time to time for campaigns to strengthen the Greek navy and the creation of a model Naval High School (TEENS) in Chios.

Source From: Capital

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