V.Ships is the largest third-party management company in Greece, managing a fleet of 69 vessels, comprising 30 containerships and 39 bulk carriers from 14 different clients.
“V.Group has been in a unique position to have invested in a key office in Greece at a very early stage, enabling the company to serve their Greek clients closer and better” Costas Th. Kontes, managing director of V.Ships Greece tells Maritime CEO.
“The vessels that are managed by the Greek office are owned by well-known, established shipping companies of, mainly, Greek interests. While many of our clients also have their own in-house management offices, in many cases, they have entrusted us with the management of their entire fleet, as we offer the best in-class fleet management solution” he adds.
But what is the competitive advantage that shipmanagement companies offer shipowners, to make the latter trust them with their fleets? “Shipmanagement companies, like V.Ships, can manage and take responsibility for all aspects of the day-to-day fleets’ operations on behalf of shipowning clients. Owners benefit from our expertise and strong relationships with suppliers. Most importantly, we are up-to-date with increasing legislative requirements and can help owners affirm the understanding of those requirements” Kontes explains.
“We take the stress and hassle away from owning a vessel, but at the same time remain close enough by making use of the new technologies and by having the right controls in place. This means that shipowners have the opportunity to be more involved in the commercial or S&P part of the business, taking advantage of the market without being limited by their fleet’s operational requirements” he notes.
“Third-party management also seems like an ideal solution for those shipowners who wish to diversify their fleets and expand into other fields. In order to achieve these goals, they need a professional partner with the necessary expertise to guide them through these processes” Kontes argues.
The Greek giant Costamare is a characteristic example. The well known containerships player has began to expand rapidly in the dry bulk sector. “Following a successful enlargement of our cooperation during the past year, we are now working together towards materialising the company’s latest project, which involves Costamare’s fleet diversification with the addition of a number of bulk carriers. We have therefore, from the very initial stage, worked along with them to build up a comprehensive plan of taking over vessels within a short period of time” Kontes says.
Nevertheless, shipowners with smaller fleets are also part of V.Group’s development in Greece as well. “A number of our current clients fall under this category, as they own an ambitious fleet of approx. 4 to 5 vessels and, in some cases even, a mere 1 to 2 vessels” Kontes explains.
“We could state that smaller shipowners are becoming increasingly positive towards third-party management, as today’s highly competitive business environment makes the use of economies of scale necessary, which can only be offered by a large ship manager. The size and volume of a large management company significantly increases its bargaining power, ensuring – in many cases – more favourable conditions than those that would have been achieved by an individual player in the market” he adds.
Shipping analysts predict that third party management will enhance its presence in the Greek shipping market. Kontes fully agrees.
“We have already started to witness movement in this direction. Greek principals are already exploring third party management services with the use of alternative methods i.e., partnerships, joint ventures, or direct outsourcing. They appear ready to discuss with managers who have a good track record. At the same time, and as the new generation starts to take over, they are able to focus more of their attention on shipping investments” he says.