SAFETY4SEA: What will be the key shipping challenges within the next years from your perspective and how are going to affect the industry?

Panos Yannoulis: The basic key challenges for the industry are twofold. One is regulations driven (compliance) and affects mainly the protection of the environment. The other is operational and is represented by the trend of accelerating digitalization in shipping.

The technologies related with the compliance aspect are to a great extend already developed or under advanced development. i.e. WBTS, NOX, SDX and particulate mother abatement, MRY/IMO DCS. However, there are still uncertainties and challenges as far as the technology to be selected for meeting the 0.5% Sulphur content global cap in 2020, i.e. LSFO, scrubbers or LNG fuel. The compliance challenge which has no practical answers yet is the recent IMO decision for DE-carbonization.  In this connection, it is to be granted out that even the gradual implementation of the ambitious targets set, energy density improvement of 40% by 2030 and 70% by 2070 and global reduction of 50% CO2 emissions from shipping by 2050, compared with 2018, require the introduction of zero CO2 emitting fuels much sooner than 2030, which are not invented yet or are at the research stage.

As far as the digitalization and the resulting target for autonomous ship operation is concerned, the technological base is already under advanced development, but there are challenges originating from the need to disrupt drastically the recent business model for shipping, cyber security threats and legal issues connected with the absence of part or all crew or even the captain of the ship.


S4S: What should be the top priorities for the shipping industry stakeholders towards a more sustainable future for the shipping industry?

P.Y.: The shipping industry today is operating in a very different business environment. Environmental regulations, public opinion, legislation, charterers, cargo owners, port organizations, terminals, unions, shipyards, equipment manufacturers, unions, service which in the past affected the ship and ship operation in almost different/separate ways, should base their requirements, enforcement policies or technologies on a more coordinated basis for the industry to be sustainable.

Harmonization of collecting and recording data, data bases, data analytics, communication, reporting and verification, cyber security, transparency of information, decision making procedures etc. should be perceived by all stakeholders in the shipbuilding and shipping transportation chain.

Dedicated functions, departments or individuals should be created/appointed within all stakeholders to study optimum ways of achieving this harmonization.


S4S: What is your organization doing differently in order to prepare for a more sustainable future?

P.Y.: Our strategies in order to prepare for a more sustainable future are threefold:

  1. Continue to scrutinize the technological environment in order to locate as soon as possible and promote/ technically support reliable and cost effective solutions, satisfying our customers’ needs, in connection to meeting existing and upcoming regulations and operational requirements.
  2. Create the basis for an effective after sales customer support, through spare parts trading, servicing on board, training and creating when necessary/appropriate service hubs in the area.
  3. Invest in related business activities and ventures, such as ECOMASYN, probunkers and service/training hubs.


S4S: Do you have any new developments/ or any new projects on the pipeline and/or plans that you would like to share with the rest of the industry?

P.Y.: Oceanking started as a traditional, marine equipment representative and supplier and through the years, we have developed as a trustful commercial company, promoting products and systems of high technology level,  satisfying the needs of the customers for today and foreseeable future.

In this connection, in addition to the traditional promotion of marine equipment and the related after sales support, we promote a wide range of innovative technologies meeting the various regulations, such as WBTS, scrubbers, fuel consumption/flow measuring systems, energy saving devices.

Furthermore, we are founding partners of ECOMASYN, a cluster of Greek companies offering some plentary products and services in the area of green technologies. Main focus of this cluster is to give new life to the local, suffering, ship repairing market, by undertaking retrofitting contracts for above applications, but also giving the opportunities to create joint ventures for undertaking ship repair work abroad.

A further strategic initiative for our company is to create, with some Principals of ours, local “hubs” offering customer support services, training, servicing, inspections on board, spare parts, etc.

Last but not least, we are founding shareholders of Probunkers, a company that will create a global LNG marine fuel bunkering venture, with presence in seven ports worldwide, offering trading, bunkering vessels ownership and physical supply of LNG marine fuel. Probunkers venture was officially launched at Posidonia.


S4S: What is your key message to your existing and prospective clients?

P.Y.: Our key message to all industry stakeholders is always strive to be proactive, use best and reliable consultants and business associates to scrutinize incoming technologies and get ready for disrupting changes that will come, for sure! Balance accurately risks between being early movers or late followers.



The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and not necessarily those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.

Click herebelow to view SAFETY4SEA interview with Mr. Panos Yannoulis, President, OceanKing, during Posidonia 2018, 4-8 June at Metropolitan Expo in Athens


Panos Yannoulis is a naval architect and marine engineer. He has graduated from the University of Genoa, Italy in 1970. His professional experience covers ship research, ship design, shipbuilding and project management. During his career, he was in charge, as designer, project manager of shipyard divisional director, of multimillion dollar projects for a variety of ship types and marine structures. He covered top technical managerial positions, namely Newbuilding's Manager at Hellenic Shipyards, Skaramanga, Greece and Tecnhical Director at Avlis Shipyards, Chalkis, Greece. Presently, he is Partner and President of OCEANKING S.A.

Mr Yannoulis is a member of the Technical Chamber of Greece, the Hellenic Assoication of Naval Architects & Marine Engineers and a Fellow Member and ex-President of  the Hellenic Institute of Marine Technology. Furthermore, he is ex-President of the International Maritime Association of the Mediterranean (IMAM). He is author of technical papers in technical publications and presented papers in various international and national conferences and seminars on ship design and/or construction matters.