High and dry

Anangel Maritime Services is a Greek ship owning and management company specialising in large dry bulk carriers with a track record in shipping since 1947. Currently it has in its fleet 37 vessels with an aggressive programme of expansion in progress. It is the dry Bulk arm of the Angelicoussis Shipping Group, led by John Angelicoussis. More than 100 ships are part of the group, making John’s fleet the largest in Greece and one of largest private groups in the world. Like every company of the Group, Anangel is recognised for its high quality service and excellent track record.

Anangel offers a comprehensive range of management services that includes technical management, newbuild supervision, financial services, crewing, risk analysis, and overseeing safety protocols. Its tonnage consists largely of capesize ships but also includes mini capes, most of which have been built by Korean and Chinese yards under strict Anangel supervision to ensure high standards of construction. All ships fly the Greek flag and are operated by Greek officers. Over the next year, this portfolio will be expanding by 11 vessels that are currently being built by or on order with a variety of yards including DSME Korea, STX Korea, Shanghai Shipyard, and Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipyard China. This will bring its total fleet to nearly 50 ships.

Technical director Leonidas Zissimatos discusses the challenges faced in maintaining part of Greece’s largest private fleet: “Preventative maintenance at the highest level is our top priority. For the implementation of this zero tolerance policy that we believe provides rewards, no effort and money is spared. Anangel’s fleet is divided into either three or four smaller fleets depending on how many ships we have at the time; at this present moment we have three fleets, each with its own fleet manager and three engineers of various capabilities. There is also a combination of ex-seagoing personnel and university graduates. This means we have a very well manned and staffed technical operations department.

“We also make sure to visit our ships very frequently. On practically every voyage there is somebody from Anangel onboard. It will be either an engineer or captain from our maintenance department, electricians, or radio communications personnel – or a combination. Each attendance is prepared, oustandings issued and followed up, and the circle is completed once each of these outstandings is satisfied. We believe in preventative maintenance as I told you. We make sure that each problem that a ship may have – and ships have problems frequently – is attended to and solved. We leave nothing to chance. We do our best to be literally ‘on line’ with our vessels.”

Such watertight approaches to health safety, and quality have won Anangel respect and business across the world. Its capesizes and mini capes carry dry bulk – its main cargo is iron ore – on international routes, for example between Brazil and China. In 2009 it became the first Greek shipowner to enter the very large ore carrier (VLOC) market after converting a very large crude carrier (VLCC), followed by three further such ships, providing the company with an advantage over competitors.

Anangel of course also benefits from being part of the Angelicoussis Shipping Group, which includes fellow Athens-based Maran Tankers Management and Maran Gas Maritime, London based shipbroker / charterer Agelef Shipping, Seaways Maritime Services a representative /support office in Houston as well as representative offices in Shanghai and Tokyo. Athens-based Delphic Maritime Training Centre is a DNV approved in-house training centre equipped with full-scale bridge cargo handling and engine room simulators exclusively serving the Group companies.

Long established Friendly Maritime Services of Manila is the Group’s exclusive crewing company responsible for recruitment and training of competent seafarers. Very recently the Group established a chartering office in Singapore. “Many big companies have moved their HQs to Singapore so we found it convenient to start our own office there,” Leonidas informs. “The plan is that we will expand this office in the near future to provide technical operations support.” Though independently operating companies, the group shares a close relationship that gives it an almost global presence with the main offices remaining in Athens.

Talking about business for Anangel over the last 18 months, Leonidas goes on to highlight the company’s good fortunes in a turbulent market: “We know the present market is very bad and some companies will struggle with their cash flow but Anangel is optimistic in its outlook. We are a large very well established, company and have a good reputation so that we can secure liquidity if needed. Furthermore, our business is spread across several models: we have long-term charters, contracts of affreightments with major shippers of iron ore and coal, as well as a number of vessels on the spot market.

“We are financially very sound so all in all we have a positive outlook. John and the Angelicoussis Shipping Group is serious about whatever he embarks on: from dry bulk we have expanded into tankers and this was approached with the utmost sincerity and has achieved a lot in that sector since the early 1990’s. John is also focusing intently on the next step, the move into gas and LNG that was made five years ago, and I think he is enjoying the business. Currently there is a very large newbuilding order with Hyundai and DSME in Korea and an option for two extra vessels has recently been exercised, taking the total number of new vessels expected in the group to 11. John loves the business, his daughter Maria is in the business, and people that have been with the company for 30 or 40 years surround them both. That is a good combination of numbers and experience.”

Anangel is currently preparing its fleet to meet forthcoming new environmental and energy efficiency regulations for which no specific difficulties are anticipated in fact and a number of these new requirements are already incorporated in the Group’s philosophy.

Beyond that, the commercial and market future of Anangel lies in the mind and hands of John Angelicoussis. “Final decisions about the Group’s strategies for the future are made by John himself,” Leonidas explains. “Shipping is a volatile business having its own cycles and only John with his experience and long accumulated knowledge knows how Anangel will tackle these. The market follows trends that can’t be predicted because if it could there would be all successes. Operating ships is now a highly sophisticated and technical field, it’s not just a matter of getting a captain and chief engineer on board and the ship will operate. You need a lot of infrastructure and experience. I believe Greece as a nation has all of that and we, as a company, can offer that. We want to serve the customers and continue to operate ships at the highest level of safety efficiency, pollution prevention, and operational quality possible for many years to come.”

Newbuild programme underway
Part of largest Greek fleet
Focus on HQSE