First established in 1916, the Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) represents Greek-owned vessels over 3,000 gt under Greek and other European and third country flags. Greek shipowners are primarily active in the bulk / tramp sector (i.e. bulk carriers, tankers, LNG / LPG carriers) and have a growing presence in liner trades through containerships which are usually chartered-out to major carriers. Greek-owned vessels are preponderantly involved in cross trading activities carrying cargoes between third countries. As the international representative of the Greek shipping community, the UGS advocates balanced and realistic positions on aspects of maritime transport that foster a global levelplaying field and promote a competitive business environment and free global trade, while ensuring safety and security at sea. With headquarters in Piraeus and permanent representatives in Brussels and Washington D.C., the UGS closely follows developments in the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and other global bodies.
The UGS is a member of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) and participates in the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the Economic and Social Council of Greece (ESC). It also maintains a close working relationship with sector-specific industry organizations, such as INTERTANKO, INTERCARGO and with BIMCO. Finally, the UGS maintains long-standing close relations with the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping, the London-based Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee (GSCC) and the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association (HELMEPA), raising environmental awareness regarding protection of the marine environment in Greece and abroad. The UGS is very active in engaging with other key stakeholders, such as the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) and individual classification societies [Lloyd’s Register, American Bureau of Shipping, Det Norske Veritas / Germanischer Lloyd, Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK), China Classification Society]. The UGS also maintains ongoing bilateral relationships with other shipowners’ associations. In 2017, meetings took place with shipowners’ associations from Cyprus, Germany, Italy, Malta and Norway. The UGS regularly visits the USA and meets with the Administration and Congress in order to promote common strategic interests and better understanding of maritime issues of mutual concern. A UGS Presidential delegation successfully completed its latest official visit to Washington D.C. in April 2018. At national level, the UGS co-operates with the Greek authorities, especially the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy and seafarers’ organizations regarding the competitiveness of the national register, seafarer recruitment and maritime education.
Posidonia, a bi-annual international shipping exhibition, is organized under the auspices of the UGS. Since 1969, Posidonia has established itself as one of the major networking events of the global shipping industry and maritime cluster, attracting the industry’s most influential personalities and serving as a unique business forum for Greek and international shipowners. The next Posidonia Exhibition is set to take place on 4-8/6/2018 in Athens. In the face of a continuing economic crisis, Greek shipowners have in recent years undertaken several social responsibility initiatives throughout the country, culminating in 2016 in the establishment of the Greek Shipowners’ Social Welfare Company «SYNENOSIS». Its aim is to contribute to Greek society by supporting social welfare programmes and activities for vulnerable social groups and for projects of public interest, through the provision of humanitarian and charitable aid. SYN-ENOSIS is a solid reference point for the collective social responsibility of the shipping community and a reflection of the multifaceted contribution of Greek shipping to public life.