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Keeping Greek technology at the forefront

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Eleni Polychronopoulou is championing Greek technology across the maritime industry through her leadership positions in pioneering companies, a national association, and a continent-spanning industry group.

Like many in the Greek maritime community, Eleni Polychronopoulou grew up close to the shipping industry through her family’s ship supplies business. When it came time to pursue a career, she combined her shipping roots with her passion for protecting the marine environment, enhancing Greek technology as a result.

After developing her product and business development skills at Environmental Protection Engineering (EPE), Polychronopoulou was appointed business development manager at Erma First upon its foundation in 2009. Since then, she has helped guide the company on its mission to minimise the environmental impact of shipping. “The environmental agenda is driving change across the maritime industries. New technologies help us protect the marine environment and to ensure that global shipping remains cost-effective as it responds to the sustainability imperative,” says Polychronopoulou. Once best known for its ballast water treatment systems, which have been installed on more than 3,500 vessels - including for some of the world’s largest shipping companies. Erma First now oversees a portfolio of sustainable marine solutions, which include technologies that help ship operators to cut emissions. The company recently launched its alternative maritimepower (AMP) solution, Blue Connect, which was officially recognised as an energy-saving device (ESD) by DNV and holds approval in principle (AiP) from Bureau Veritas. The technology offers a seamless electrical connection between ship and shore while at berth, allowing a ship to cut emissions and fuel use by shutting down auxiliary engines. The first installation of Blue Connect will bemade this autumn, while Erma First has received orders for six to eight units to be delivered by the end of the year.

Erma First has also launched its propeller boss cap fin, Flexcap, a bespoke upgrade which brings fuel savings of between2% and 5% by improving hydrodynamics around the propeller hub vortex.In addition, the company recently unveiled plans to offer onboard carbon capture and storage (CCS), with its Carbon Fit solution. An amine absorption version offered for deepseaships has secured AiP from Lloyd’s Register and DNV, and a simpler calcium hydroxide-based version is also available, aimed at shortsea vessels. Polychronopoulou said pilot units would be installed by August 2024.

“Our view is that shipping will not be able to meet its ambitions on decarbonisation with any single solution,” she said. “Instead, each victory will be hard won and that demands strategies targeting every energy-efficiency win and saving every tonne of CO2 – whether the solution is shoreside or at sea. The case for technologies such as ours are individually compelling, but gains can also be accumulative.”

Polychronopoulou is also active on the digital frontier of decarbonisation through her role as president of METIS, a company that offers a suite of ship-efficiency tools from fuel consumption optimisation to total emissions management, voyage analysis, and real-time monitoring. METIS recently took its offerings to the energy market, working with offshore service provider ESVAGT in the development of applications to bring transparency to service operation vessel (SOVs) performance across the diverse range of offshore vessel activities.

“It would be hard to find anyone today who doesn’t have some idea about the value of data, and METIS offers solutions to realise the full potential of that value for shipping,” she says. “We help owners increase ship efficiency and optimise voyage performance, reduce fuel consumption and cut emissions. We help them to understand and resolve technical issues, optimise speed, identify the best route based on weather conditions, capture data that verifies charter party terms, and to monitor and document CII. All this is pivotal in realising shipping’s commercial and sustainability aims.”

Greeks United

The Hellenic Marine Equipment Manufacturers & Exporters association, better known as HEMEXPO, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. After a decade of promoting Greek marine equipment and technical services to the global maritime industry, HEMEXPO has dozens of members and connections with shipowners and shipyards the world over.

The association is active in showcasing Greek technologies at international trade shows, stressing the quality and value for money in Greek-made technologies, as wellas the benefits of developing solutions in a market that knows the maritime industry intimately.

At its last bi-annual election process, the association welcomed its new Board of Directors, a group that highlights the diverse range of equipment represented by HEMEXPO. Konstantinos Fanouriadis, Managing Director of heat exchanger and cooler company FARAD SA, Athanasios Athanasopoulos, chief executive of industrial and marine automation outfit UTECO ABEE and Ilias Mallios, Export Director of marine lighting experts SeaBright SA, were all re-appointed and joined by Stefanos Chartomantzidis, Chief Commercial Officer of Prisma Electronics. Beyond its extensive work at industry events in Europe and Asia, HEMEXPO continues to grow its own membership and late last year signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Greek Exporters Association, SEVE, to support their mutual export objectives.

“As an association, our goal is to continue to ensure that leading Greek marine equipment manufacturers build lasting international and local partnerships, and that the collective strength and innovation of our suppliers is at the forefront of owner and yard thinking,” said Polychronopoulou.

Seatrade MaritimeKeeping greek technology at the forefront

European Development


HEMEXPO is an active member of SEA Europe, the Shipyards & Maritime Equipment Association that represents merchant and naval shipbuilding across 16 countries. Polychronopoulou has served as vice-chair of SEA Europe since 2021. SEA Europe is an active voice for the shipbuilding industry, including on issues such as the protection of European industry in trade agreements, the role of EU funding in supporting shipyards and equipment manufacturers, and the expertise its members contribute to tackling emissions from shipping.

The association recently presented its recommendations for a Maritime Industrial Strategy at the European Parliament, with a goal of regaining Europe’s shipbuilding capacity. The strategy calls for consolidation of Europe’s leadership in complex shipbuilding and maritime equipment manufacturing, regaining strategic ship types for the European Blue Economy, and conquering emerging markets such as offshore renewable energy and carriers of alternative fuels.

SEA Europe also proposed a new blue technology fund for the European maritime sector to replace the existing scheme from 2027, envisaging a solution to what it sees as a fragmented and complex funding landscape.


Find out more of the latest news with our Hellas Maritime Report 2024.