Ahead of today’s Maritime CEO Forum taking place at the Monaco Yacht Club, Splash assesses the state of the Monagesque maritime cluster.
Of the five hubs covered in Splash’s Mediterranean Hubs magazine none has a leader who is more passionate about the ocean than Prince Albert II of Monaco.
In charge of the tax haven since 2005, the 64-year-old has spent considerable time and resources positioning Monaco as one of the world’s top resources when it comes to ocean sustainability.
“To be truly aware of our relationship with the ocean and hope to change it, we need to look at how we act towards the seas,” said the prince in launching the Monaco Blue Initiative, a discussion platform which brings together every year, by invitation, the major players in the ocean sector to discuss the global challenges of ocean management and conservation.
“We must engage all stakeholders in a dialogue to better understand the issues that link the seas and humanity. This is how we will be able to place the ocean at the heart of our development model,” the prince stressed.
Best known, shipping-wise, for its yachting culture, Monaco has built up a strong commercial shipping cluster in the 21st century which encompasses every maritime strand.
The shipping cluster has significantly evolved over the last 15 years, both horizontally and vertically
Scorpio supremo Emanuele Lauro, who is also president of the principality’s chamber of shipping, says commercial shipping now makes up more than 4% of the city-state’s GDP. Commercial shipping also employs more than 1,000 people in the tiny micro-state, whose total population is just shy of 40,000.
“The principality truly represents an ideal place to welcome shipping companies thanks to the efficiency of its administration, its political stability, the quality of its socio-economic environment, and its central location near the main European capitals,” the Italian says. Scorpio itself has been in Monaco since 1984.
John Michael Radziwill, Monaco resident and chair of GoodBulk, tells Splash: “Monaco provides an all-encompassing cluster of various services catering to the maritime industry.”
“The principality,” Radziwill continues, “is home to several international shipowners, both private and publicly listed ones, shipbrokers, commodity traders, maritime law firms, accountancy and insurance companies which specialise in shipping as well as commercial and technical management companies, all within its 2 sq km area.”
What is more many companies are located in the same district or even building making it that much easier to get around for various meetings. The main languages spoken are English, Italian, and French making communication very easy for people from various backgrounds.
“Great weather helps as does proximity to the sea and of course being nestled between two of Europe’s most beautiful countries, France and Italy,” adds Radziwill, who also heads up shipping pool C Transport Maritime.
Danilo Fumarola, CEO of another Monaco-based shipowner, Gestion Maritime, points out that the fast-growing local managed fleet is now in the top 20 worldwide.
“The shipping cluster has significantly evolved over the last 15 years, both horizontally and vertically,” Fumarola says. “The fleet size has rapidly increased both in terms of the number of ships and type of ships.”
Monaco is “perfectly located” in the middle of Europe, Fumarola argues, strategically connected to the world via the nearby international airport of Nice, the busiest airport in France outside of Paris.
Roberto Giorgi, who led V.Ships for many years before retiring, is a tireless champion of all things Monaco maritime, highlighting the truly international representation of nationalities coming from all over the world with different know-how, ensuring a broad, diverse cluster.
“The representation of brokers, traders, lawyers, auditors, bankers and shipmanagers across the ocean sector is becoming bigger, younger and more international every year,” Giorgi says, admitting that the favourable taxation regime proves to be a significant attraction for many.
The local Chamber of Shipping, a thriving Monaco chapter of the Propeller Club, WISTA representatives combined with the many initiatives from the swish Monaco Yacht Club ensure the maritime community has plenty of places to meet up.
Across the Mediterranean maritime hubs are developing, offering a full range of services and establishing themselves at shipping’s top table. Splash identified the five leading maritime capitals in the region – Athens, Genoa Limassol, Marseille and Monaco – and assigned correspondents to report on their individual strengths for a special glossy magazine. Splash readers can access the full magazine online by clicking here.