Nikolas Tsakos, founder President & Chief Executive Officer of Tsakos Energy Navigation (TEN), a pioneering shipping company celebrating its 30th anniversary as a publicly listed company this year, spoke to Greece’s Akti Miaouli newspaper in an exclusive interview.
The TEN CEO discusses the current market trends and the impact of the Ukraine war, as well as Greece’s economic recovery from a decade-long crisis and the state of the world economy.
TEN, founded in 1993 and celebrating this year 30 years as a public company, is one of the first and most established public shipping companies in the world. TEN’s diversified energy fleet currently consists of 67 double-hull vessels including four dual-fuel LNG powered Aframaxes, two scrubber-fitted Suezmaxes and up to three DP2 Shuttle tankers under construction constituting a mix of crude tankers, product tankers and LNG carriers, totaling 8.4 million dwt.
What is your view of the shipping market currently and your forecast looking ahead?
There are many markets in shipping and we are active in three or four. Regarding the energy market in particular, it is the first time in the last thirty years that we are seeing a good balance between supply and demand. Most of our peers have avoided the impulse to place newbuilding orders, which gives us hope that in 2-3 years, until new vessels are built, the market will be at a good level, regardless of conflict in Ukraine.
How impactful is the situation in Ukraine?
Any irregularity causes a positive environment for freight rates. As a company and a family though, we prefer stable profitability in a peaceful world over spectacular results. The important thing is that there are no limits to shipping, which grows in “open seas” without embargoes.
How are high interest rates and soaring inflation impacting on seaborne trade and global markets in general?
If interest rates continue to hover around 5-6% in the long term that will surely put the brakes on global growth. I hope they are now being used to bring inflation under control, back down to healthy levels of 2-4%. If rates move above these levels I believe we will see negative results in the next 18 months, especially in the dry bulk market.
Are you interested in onshore investment and in which sectors?
We are looking for business opportunities, not so much in Greece but internationally. We are looking at alternative fuels and energy sources […] these are things that interest us because all our clients take interest in them. But our focus is mostly on the international environment as opposed to Greece.
What is your view of shipping’s transition to clean fuel?
That’s the six-million-dollar question right now. We are all in search of a solution for the future.
TEN is celebrating its 30th anniversary. How do you see the company’s course over all these years?
TEN is now 30 years old, 20 of which as NYSE-listed company and this anniversary finds us with record profits, which is always nice. We celebrated our 20 years in the US, we will celebrate the 30th anniversary in London in September.
How do you see Greece’s economic prospects and what is your view of the global economy?
After a period of crisis Greece is enjoying very positive momentum, especially with foreign investors who are seeing our country as a very stable, serious, and successful country. I hope this continues.
Mr. Nikolas Tsakos spoke to Akti Miaouli journalist Antonis Alafogiorgos.