Athens: In the CEO’s hotseat for nearly nine months now, Captain Stylianos Dimouleas, who heads up Greece’s Almi Tankers, is riding out the tanker freight rate storm.
“In a very volatile market, we try to keep an almost even balance between spot and time charter,” he says.
The company, founded in the early stages of shipping’s downturn back in 2009 by Costas Fostiropoulos, has grown quickly and also secured decent charters with oil majors, something Dimouleas is proud about.
Prior to taking the top job, he had been with Almi for three years, starting out in HR before becoming chief operating officer.
Almi currently operates a fleet of two aframax LR2 vessels and nine suezmaxes. It also took delivery of a VLCC, which has been long-term chartered, and will take the delivery of another VLCC later this year which is also on a 15-year charter with the same oil major, Chevron.
The tanker owner is now close to completing its extensive newbuild project, all of which has taken place at Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME). The suezmaxes and VLCCs ordered are among the more technically advanced afloat today.
“We definitely wanted to take advantage of new technologies, as we wanted our vessels to be as eco-friendly as possible,” says Dimouleas. Ballast water treatment systems have been fitted on all vessels, and the VLCCs are the first in the world to be equipped with G-type ultra long stroke engines, which in conjunction with a larger diameter propeller offer significant fuel savings and produce less emissions than engines with the same output.
As far as the markets go Dimouleas says the tanker sector looks like it has bottomed out finally. Admitting that times have been “very depressed” and “extremely tough” for everyone in the tanker trades for the past four years, Dimouleas stresses: “We will maintain our very high operating standards to ride this global storm out. I think that is what should be done on an industry-wide level.” He adds: “A halt in new vessel orders would help as well.”
Dimouleas will not be drawn on possible other sectors Almi might buy into, but does tell readers, “We always keep our eyes open for good business opportunities.”
This is not surprising since the firm is owned by the Fostiropoulos family, well known Greek shipping players who also run dry bulk outfit Fairsky Shipping.
Prior to Almi, Dimouleas was at sea for 16 years with the Onassis Group before coming ashore in 2006 and working with Top Ships for four years. [16/05/14]
NEED TO KNOW: Almi Tankers
Founded in 2009 by the Fostiropoulos family who also run dry bulk outfit Fairsky Shipping, Almi now has two aframax LR2 vessels, nine suezmaxes, and a VLCC, plus one more VLCC to deliver shortly.