Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Suez crisis creates winners and losers in the global supply chain

This article was published by Al Jazeera

Terminals II and III of the Piraeus Container Terminal

PIRAEUS, Greece - Yiorgos Gourdomihalis sounds very sanguine about losing $30,000 a day. 

Just hours before the Suez canal shut down last week, the CEO of Phoenix Shipping and Trading had clinched a time charter carrying porcelain clay from Ukraine to India, which would have made his company close to half a million dollars. 

“Our charterers did not complete the paperwork the next day, because the boat would have gone through Suez. We were sorry because it was a good price, but we’ll do something else,” the second generation shipowner tells Al Jazeera. 

Despite the loss of this charter, Gourdomihalis expects to be among the winners of the upset in global trade, which began on March 23 when the container ship Ever Given ran aground while entering the canal from the Red Sea. That is because upsets in global supply chains have historically tended to raise freight rates and profit shipowners. 

The Greek shipowning community, which controls more than a fifth of the world’s oceangoing merchant fleet and more than half of the EU fleet, is poised for a potential bonanza in rates. 

Friday, 26 March 2021

The godfathers of Greek independence

This article was published by The Critic

From its very inception as a nation state, Greece learned that to fight the Turks successfully it needed allies, and that these had to be won through shared interests as well as shared values.

The grave of Theodoros Kolokotronis, a captain of the Greek Revolution of 1821,
festooned with flags on the bicentennial 

The Greek War of Independence, which reaches its bicentennial this month, is usually associated with Lord Byron, the most famous of an estimated twelve hundred Philhellenes who arrived to fight alongside the Greeks in the first half of the war. Philhellenism was key to the success of the Greek revolution, stoked by a belief that an ancient civilisation was rising from the ashes. Within that movement, a very small number of people made an outsized contribution. 

Byron’s death in Messolongi in 1824 had an electric effect on public opinion because he was, quite simply, a rock star. Childe Harold’s Piligrimage, in which his wandering hero mused about freedom for the Greeks twelve years earlier, had sold ten editions in three years. And Byron was, after all, a British lord. 

“The enthusiasm he awakened perhaps served Greece more than his personal exertions would have done, had his life been prolonged,” concludes George Finlay, Byron’s friend and historian of the Greek War of Independence.