Hellenic Bank on Thursday released a statement in which it underlined its support for the shipping industry and its people, something which is reflected through its backing of this year’s Marine Money Cyprus Forum, which was held for the fifth consecutive year

The conference provided optimistic messages about the course of global and Cypriot shipping, in a period of uncertainty for the international economy, while also discussing the challenges, risks, and opportunities of the sector.

In response to the conference, Hellenic Bank’s CEO, Oliver Gatzke, expressed the bank’s commitment to the shipping industry, which it has prioritised for decades, by supporting domestic and international businesses in the sector and recognising its vital role in the country’s economy.

The bank noted that with a wide range of integrated financial services, it can meet the needs of shipping companies. In addition to the specialised shipping centre in Limassol, the bank said that it has been “operating its shipping financing unit for the last six years, which manages an excellent loan portfolio”.

Gatzke pointed out that the shipping industry is constantly changing and faces pressing challenges such as the need to address environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues.

“The industry is under intense pressure to reduce its environmental footprint, adopt sustainable practices and improve the well-being of stakeholders. At the same time, it must maintain high standards of corporate governance and comply with complex regulations. As a bank, we are committed to supporting our customers in their efforts to adopt more sustainable practices,” Gatzke said.

“We believe that ESG criteria are a necessary condition for the long-term success and sustainability of a business. We are confident that the shipping industry will rise to this challenge as well, as it is highly regulated and accustomed to challenges,” he added.

For his part, Dimitris Tzavaras, Hellenic Bank’s head of shipping, while participating in a panel discussion, gave his own recommendations on the financing options available to Cypriot owners and investors.

What is more, the Chief Economist of the Hellenic Bank, Constantinos Vrahimis, stated that the global economy continues its gradual recovery after the significant negative effects caused by the health pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

“This recovery differs between the main economies. European economies are expected to recover after the negative economic climate over the winter and the American economy will enter a small recession in the first half of the year recovering in the second half of the year,” he said.

“Disruptions in the supply chain are gradually receding and turbulence in the energy market and the food market are decreasing. This will result in improved conditions in global trade, which is expected to increase by 1.7 per cent in 2023 compared to 2022, further assisting in the recovery of the global shipping industry,” Vrahimis concluded.