As befits a magazine heading to the Splash-sponsored Posidonia exhibition in Athens next week there’s a decidedly Greek feel to this issue.
Greek owners, finance, wine and travel are all in the spotlight as is the never-ending debate over the merits of being a public or a private shipowner.
On the cover is Simeon Palios, a well-known Greek businessman and shipping veteran who has spent more than 50 years in the industry. He founded Diana Shipping Agencies in 1972 and is presently the chairman of Athens-based bulker owner Diana Shipping and president of Diana Shipping Services.
Coming from the island of Chios, the birthplace of many powerful Greeks, Palios has been named the “game-changer” of Greek shipping many times during his journey.
He transformed Diana Shipping from a purely family business that began to develop its fleet in partnership with friends and family, into an international investment firm listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
“I have had no regrets or doubts that it was the right thing to do for the long-term survival and growth of the company,” he said, interviewed at Capital Link’s recent Greek shipping event.
“It was also the only way forward in pursuing a successful business strategy, which I and my senior management had to set out as a long-term business plan for Diana Shipping,” Palios said.
Palios’ career path includes being an ensign in the Greek Navy, a naval architect, and a marine engineer after graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Durham University.
His maritime contributions include membership in leading classification societies and service on the board of the UK Freight Demurrage and Defense Association. He was also chairman at Performance Shipping.
In terms of where he sees the shipping industry, bearing in mind the economic and geopolitical circumstances, Palios recently told Capital Link that covid, which he also fought off back in 2020, is causing the industry a lot of problems, especially in China, where the shipyards do not function properly and shipowners have delays in passing surveys and doing repairs, taking away a large amount of tonnage from the supply-demand equation.
With regards to opportunities, Palios thinks that a lot of needs have not been fulfilled by moving iron ore, coal, or, for that matter, fuel oil or gas, and it has to be filled by the end of this year. “The consumptions are running on about 4% a year on a cumulative basis so I am optimistic that shipping is going to do well,” he asserted.
This year’s Capital Link Greek Shipping Leadership Award was awarded to Palios in recognition and honour of his outstanding contribution to the shipping industry.
Commenting on the award, Palios reflected on his professional career, which he believed was guided by respect, decency, and transparency since the establishment of Diana Shipping Agencies.
Three words also came to him when thinking of dealings in the international world of shipping: transparency, discipline and clarity which he stressed are all so important yet sometimes either ignored or even made fun of by many.
From the early days, Palios managed to select and work with good and trusted partners and employees, all of whom were dedicated to the business and its success.
“Call it good fortune, or skillful choice of associates; it really does not matter because it does not change the fact that the team of senior regular executives gave me the chance to take advantage of work opportunities as they presented themselves all through the peaks and troughs of the shipping cycle,” he pointed out.
Palios is a firm believer that luck plays a huge role in the success of any venture, be it in shipping or any other industry. However, he noted that there are times that things do not come to pass as planned and that good luck needs to occasionally be given a helping hand as well.
“I’m proud to say that in my professional career I have witnessed and enjoyed my fair share of good fortune but also managed to steer the companies I have led out of troubled waters,” remarked Palios.
In February last year Palios stepped down as CEO at Diana Shipping, the company he had founded 50 years prior, handing over the reins to daughter Semiramis while retaining the position of chairman.
Similarly, another daughter, Aliki, now serves as chair of aframax specialist Performance Shipping, taking over from her father in January with her husband, Andreas Michalopoulos, the tanker firm’s CEO.
Palios is one of a host of well known shipowners featured in the Posidonia-flavoured issue of Maritime CEO magazine. Splash readers can access the full magazine for free by clicking here.