Port of Piraeus, Greece, 08.02.2017, 09:03 Uhr

Setting up a strong and resilient association for the future

A presentation of the Greek Ship Suppliers Association

 The president of the Hellenic Ship Suppliers & Exporters Association, Nikolaos Mavrikos, proudly explains how the ship supply industry has made a substantial contribution to Greece’s raise as a maritime nation and power.

The Hellenic Ship Suppliers & Exporters Association was established in Piraeus in 1975 as a professional non-profit organization. Its purpose is to promote the interests of its members, to develop logistics in every port of the country, as well as to bring together all those acting as suppliers in Greece.
A challenging environment for the Greek ship supply
Suppliers in Greece, especially during the last 7-8 years, have been facing difficulties. Since 2009, there has been no banking system in our country, so the Greek Supplier has to finance himself not only the cost of the products, but also the operating expenses regarding the sale, since our companies usually pay in 60 days.
Competition is fierce taking into account that, in the Mediterranean zone, there are many harbours where ships can easily find the necessary supplies. So, every day brings about comparison of quality, price and response from managers, ship-owners and captains. The Greek ship supply also works in an unequal procedural and tax-business environment as compared to that of other Suppliers in the Mediterranean basin (for example, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Israel, Egypt), because of the high taxation in Greece.
What is the answer to these challenges?

How to create a robust trade association ready to take on the challenges of the future?
Certified Excellence  
In ship supplying we know how to build trust with our customers. They need to be able to rely on us. 24/7 professional services and supply availability establish a good reputation. I needed our association to reflect the same level of professionalism. So, in 2016, our Association was successfully certified by the Hellenic Organization for Standardization, with the “Managerial Capability of Organizations Implementing Projects of Public Interest” standard (ELOT 1429/2008) for excellence in organization, financial strength, operation and actions. Now we have an organization which matches the ambition of our members, as well!
A long trade association tradition – just like the ship supply business itself
Throughout the 42 years of operation, we have been working hard to make proposals and commission reports explaining the importance and status of Greek ship suppliers for our Hellenic nation in order to achieve improved arrangements as regards the ship supply sector. This includes many events and meetings with representatives from the government, as well as from various Associations and Customs Offices, following invitations of the latter.
Customs and Taxation policies are a key focus for us!
Policy areas the Associations pro-actively deals with include:Legislation regarding VAT, the Greek special consumption tax, ship supply, customs savings and exemptions, the Greek e-customs systems, Icisnet and Emcs; customs concepts like inward and outward processing, the Authorized Economic Operator, the national implementation of the Union Customs Code, working time for customs offices, as well as other areas.

As customs and tax policy is so important for our members, we cooperate on a permanent basis with a customs advisor who provides support to members, dealing with arising challenges they may face in this area. This type of expertise, our daily monitoring of the national legislation and the strong support from OCEAN enable us to keep our members informed, on a daily basis, on new laws, decrees, circulars, EU directives and regulations.
Membership to be proud of!
We are very proud to represents 119 logistics companies all along the coastline of Greece, 90 of which count at least 20 years of presence and experience in supplies. It is particularly noteworthy that these are mainly small-medium sized companies, a large number of which are very well organized (having their own modern facilities - warehouses, with their own distribution fleet, being certified by ISO, HACCP etc.). 
These companies are active in the supply of all types of vessels (Cruise ships, Trucks, Ferries and Tankers) with what is necessary as regards:
·         equipment
·         fitting
·         repair
·         maintenance
·         safety board
·         feeding and entertaining passengers and crew.  
It is also worth mentioning that many of them have a strong export activity, as well. Thus, in 2012, we decided to change the name of the Association to “Hellenic Ship Suppliers & Exporters Association”.
Our association has two further pillars, which we have incorporated in our work and which provide opportunity for collaboration for the Greek maritime society and also to secure our future in the maritime trade:
Training our future workers and leaders in ship supply
We have been organizing seminars subsidized by the Greek Employment Agency Force (OAED), to provide vocational education and training to our employees on issues regarding ship supplies. In 2017, we are delighted to carry out 18 of these trainings to promote employment and adaptability of our workers and enterprises.
Collaboration with other maritime partners to GO GREEK!
We are proud to be Greek and we are equally proud of our Greek products! We believe Greek products should be found on every foreign vessel, from cruise ships to cargoes, ferryboats and tankers. Greek products are ideal for the full range of products needed on board of a vessel, from feeding and entertaining the occupants (passengers and crew), as well as for the equipment, repair, maintenance and safety of the vessel. In this respect, since 2015, the “COLLEAGUES” section of the website of the Association has been in use as a way of providing advertising space for our 24 Greek partners. This made it easier for both our members and the cooperating shipping companies (in Greece and abroad) to get high quality products onto their vessels, often with a very good deal.
What’s the future for us?
We are confidently looking into the future and are ready to welcome OCEAN and ISSA (the International Shipsuppliers and Services Association) members to Greece, be it for doing business with us, joining us for a conference, seminar or trade show, or just as private citizens to enjoy our amazing beaches, culture and hospitality. We will continue to train our employees and equip them with the skills needed to take on our special challenges in ship supply, to maintain and expand our valuable partnership with many maritime companies and also to uphold the professional standard and ethics that we subscribe to throughout certification with the Hellenic Organization for Standardization.

Please take a look at our website (www.ship-suppliers.gr) to learn more and just drop us a line if you are in the area to say Hi.