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Posidonia 2022

Is Liberia Flag’s major customer Greece?

Photo: Liberian Registry Alfonso_Castillero_crop_high_res (1).jpg
Posidonia will welcome the shipping industry, owners, providers, registries, and an important participation by the Liberian Registry for the first time since the disruption caused by the pandemic.

The Liberian Registry (Liberian International Shipping & Corporate Registry-LISCR) has been the preferred flag for Greek shipowners for several years now. With Liberia continuing to be the fastest and largest growing major Ship Registry in the world, the Greek fleet under the Liberian flag has grown accordingly.

Greece makes up over one fifth (1,420) of the entire 5,000 ship Liberian fleet; so, as the Greek shipping fleet grows, so Liberia grows. Last year, Greece added 326 vessels with 75.5m gt to Liberia’s fleet.

“We have seen tremendous growth in the tanker and container segments, of which Liberia is the world’s largest. But also, in dry bulk. Our fleet growth in Greece has been diversified,” says LISCR coo Alfonso Castillero.

Tankers represent 35%, container vessels, 30% as well as bulk carriers and dry cargo, offshore and others, 3%.

“The key to this growth, and it is no secret, is service. The Greek shipowners are amongst the most professional and most intelligent in the world; they demand the best and when it comes time to flag their fleet, they look to the Registry with the best service available locally. In Greece that is the Liberian Registry,” he adds.

Photo: Liberian RegistryPANTAZOPOULOS MICHALIS BY VR_4.jpg

Michalis Pantazopoulos is the manager and senior vice president of the Liberian Registry Greek office since 2004. He has focused on reforming the Register’s services to Greek shipowners and management companies, an effort that was valued and recognised, while actively promoting the interests of Greek shipping.

“Today, 18 years later, we thank the Greek shipowners for their preference of the Liberian flag, that proves once again the Register that was adopted by Greeks in 1948 continues its strong links and service offering to Greek shipping.

“The recipe of our approach to Greek shipping is simple and based on consistency, responsibility, prompt response and prompt service, any day and hour as shipping works around the clock. Our goal is to find solutions, to support the ship and the shipowner. Our faith in the capabilities of Greek shipowners who, regardless of shipping conditions, continue to invest and contribute to our Greek economy, creates additional obligation for support and solidarity,”  says Michalis Pantazopoulos.

The Liberian fleet evolution within Greek shipping is testament to the strong links which have existed between Greek shipping and the Liberian flag, dating back to the day in 1949 when the Stavros Niarchos-owned oil tanker World Peace became the first ship to be registered under the Liberian flag. From that time, until the present day, the Greek shipping community has supported the Liberian Registry, and vice-versa, through good times and challenging times.

Whilst Covid-19 and its effects in the shipping industry have been dramatic requiring adaptation of services. Immediately, Liberia set up a framework of proactive measures to continue full operations and support to the vessels and ship managers worldwide.

“Liberia was the first flag to implement ‘Remote Closings’ whereby vessels could still be delivered and change flag without the need for the in-person meetings previously required. This ensured the maximum in safety for not only the clients of the Registry, but the staff too and it has become the Registry’s great success that allowed the Greek office to record “All Time record in 2021,’ explains Pantazopoulos.

“At a time when companies were looking to reduce overheads, we even increased them, especially in Greece, as we invested in professional maritime staff to service the fleet. Liberia focused on streamlining, using common sense, and removing bureaucracy and extra red tape,” adds Castillero.

Greece remains the undisputed number one shipping nation in the world, and Liberia remains the number one flag of choice for Greek shipowners. Liberia has contributed to the quality growth of Greek shipping, which is testament to the trust and respect that exists between the Greek ship-owning community and the Liberian Registry. Since 2019 the Liberian Registry has grown 35% in terms of Gross Tonnage. Recently, the Liberian Registry was awarded Qualship21 status for 2022- 2023 by the United States Coast Guard’s (USCG). QS21 status brings advantages to vessels visiting the US.

“Liberia continues to not only grow through newbuilding, but an increasing number of ships registering with Liberia moving away from the Marshall Islands and Panama. We are confident this growth will continue, especially as we launch our latest services such as our Detention Prevention Programme, and our 24/7 Duty Officer video-chat function,” concludes Castillero

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