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Greek shipping
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Shipping is arguably the oldest form of occupation of the Greeks. Greece has the largest merchant marine in the world at 170 mil. dwt, of which 50 mil.t. dwt under the Greek flag.[1] It is the second largest contributor to the Greek economy after tourism and forms the backbone of world shipping. As of 2007, Greek run companies controlled almost 18% of the world's fleet. Its key centers of operation are Pireaus, London and New York. Its fleet flies under a variety of flags, including flags of convenience. However, some Greek shipping is gradually returning to Greece following the changes to the legislative framework governing its operations and the improved infrastructure.
Contents [hide]
1 History
2 Development in Asia
3 Families
4 Greek Shipping Companies
5 References
6 External links
7 See also


Greek Merchant Navy flag used between 1822-28
In the eighteenth century a substantial merchant marine, based on the three “nautical” islands of Hydra, Spetsai, and Psara, developed. This prospered from running the continental blockade imposed by Great Britain during the period of the French revolutionary and Napoleonic wars[citation needed]. The existence of a reservoir of trained sailors was to prove of inestimable advantage once the war of independence had broken out, when Greek fire ships became a formidable weapon against the cumbersome ships of the line of the Ottoman fleet.
These merchants also provided the material basis for the Neohellenic Diafotismos. Impelled by the sense of local patriotism that had always been strong in the Greek world, they endowed schools and libraries. The three most important schools-cum-colleges in the Greek world on the eve of the War of Independence were situated inSmyrna, Chios, and Ayvalik (on the coast of Asia Minor opposite the island of Lesbós), all three major centres of Greek commerce.[2]
In the wake of the nineteenth century diaspora the Chiot families were well positioned to take advantage of the commercial opportunities across Europe after the Napolenic Wars. Families such as the Rallis were already established in Marseilles and London. They established a network of shipping specialists across all of the major ports in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Gaining a seat on the Baltic Exchange, Ralli Brothers were able to introduce shippers and agents to reliable sources of funding. In some parts of the world these fleets were Greek-owned, but in Britain they were almost exclusively chartered by London Greeks flying under the British Flag. The major shipping companies were then owned by Papayanni, Spartali and Schilizzi, while the Rodocanachi family became pre-eminent traders in their cargoes.
Accompanying these Greek-run fleets were local expatriate communities of workmen and agent-translators who managed the unfamiliar customs and bureaucracy in foreign ports. In these times before the telegraph, this network gave the Greek shippers advance warning of events and allowed them to control news and prices in advance of their competitors.[3]
The financial crisis of the 1860s saw some of these businesses collapse[4] Nonetheless, the tradition of endowment continued, and it was shipping that funded institutions such as the National Library of Greece.
These changes heralded a move by some of the Chios families out of shipping and into financing or broking, allowing Ionian-descended families to establish their own networks and shipping dynasties, most notably the Vaglianos, Ziffa and Sechiari, with funding routed from the London financial markets.
Many changes and upheavals affected their markets: the Russian Revolution, the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and restrictions in Egypt that closed their markets to foreigners. The Greek grain merchants in London and Odessa lost access to their traditional grain suppliers and markets and, rather than close, they seized the chance to invest in merchant fleets of steamships, and specialized intramp shipping.

Development in Asia
Greek firms have managed to greatly capture the immense expansion of Asia, particularly China. It is majorly the dry bulk shipping firms that have benefited the most from the development since iron ore and coal are the two major resources that are required for a country's infrastructure to be taken to the next level. Ever since the beginning of the new millennium, China has provided very lucrative contracts both on the spot, and time charter market for dry bulk shippers. As a result, many new shipping tycoons were created.

Most Greek shipping has been run as a family business, with family members located in key ports or in key positions, and with marriages cementing relationships between commercial dynasties. These close-knit families have allowed financially-sensitive information to be kept within the local community, with many transactions kept within trusted family networks.
The twentieth century saw more Greek shipping families established, including:
Goulandris of Andros
Embiricos of Andros
Lemos of Oinousses
Pateras of Oinousses
Hatzipateras of Oinousses
Onassis of Smyrna
Vergotis of Ithaca
Livanos of Chios
Carras of Chios
Latsis of Peloponnese
Hadjilias of Kasos
Foustanos of Syros
Fafalios of Chios
Negroponte of Syros
Chandris of Chios
Niarchos of Piraeus
Apadiakos from Chios
Vatis of Mikonos
Economou of Galaxidi
Kalimanopoulos of Piraeus
Dracopoulos of Mikonos
Valmas of Andros
Inglesis of Samos
Los of Chios
Other contemporary shipowners include:
During the 20th century people known as "The Golden Greeks", such as Aristotle Onassis and Stavros Niarchos, attracted attention due to their entrepreneurial success and lavish lifestyles. The families were well-known rivals during the 20th Century, and both controlled fleets exceeding one million tonnes.
John Latsis built a shipping empire out of nothing and his son Spiros took over with great success expanding the empire even further than shipping into banking and finance.
The Goulandris brothers started out from the Greek island of Andros and have built a multi-billion dollar empire over many years of trading.
John Theodoracopoulos was a well known shipping magnate of the 20th century who controlled a large fleet from New York[citation needed]. Theodoracopoulos started out his fleet by buying many Liberty ships from the Americans during WWII.

Greek Shipping Companies
Some notable Greek shipping companies include:
Aries Maritime Transport Ltd.
Kronos Maritime Agency
Transocean Steamship
Danaos Corporation
Euroseas Ltd.
Tsakos Energy Navigation
Overseas Shipholding Group- Stelmar Ltd
Diana Shipping Ltd
Dry Ships Ltd
Eastern Mediterranean Maritime Ltd
Eletson corporation
Freeseas Ltd
Goldenport Holdings Ltd
Loucas G. Matsas
Marmaras Navigation Ltd
Minerva Marine
A.M. Nomikos
Omega Navigation Enterprises Inc.
Primera Maritime (Hellas) Ltd.
Seanergy Maritime BCCtm
Spanos Maritime
Stealth Gas Ltd
Target Marine S.A.
Thena Maris S.A.
Top Tankers
Trefin Tankers
Tsavliris Salvage Intrnational Ltd
Continental Maritime S.A.

^ Review of Maritime Transport 2007, Chapter 2, Structure and ownership of the world fleet, p. 45
^ Encyclopedia Britannica, history of Greece, Merchant middle class, 2008, O.Ed.
^ A history of Greek-owned shipping, by Gelina Harlaftis
^ Depredations: Overend, Gurney & Co and the Greek and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, by 'Stefanos Xenos' (1869)

External links
Greek Ministry of Mercantile Marine
Shipping directory
Greek Shipping Publications
History of Greek shipping
Posidonia-Bi-annual International Shipping Exhibition
Greek freighter DIAMANTIS, sunk on 03 October 1939 by German U-Boat U-35
George Bitros and Ioanna Minoglou: Entrepreneurship and market order: Some historical evidence [1] Munich University Personal RePEc Archive

See also
List of ports in Greece
Aristotle Onassis
List of Greek companies
Economy of Greece
Greek Steamship Company (also Hellenic Steam Navigation Co. and New Greek Steamship Co.)

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