Η ναυτιλία αποτελεί έναν από τους σημαντικότερους κλάδους οικονομικής δραστηριότητας και αναπόσπαστο μέρος της παραγωγικής διαδικασίας για τις περισσότερες οικονομίες ανά τον κόσμο και ειδικότερα για την ελληνική οικονομία για την οποία αποτελεί έναν από τους σημαντικότερους εξαγωγικούς τομείς και κατέχει σπουδαία ιστορία. Μέσω της εργασίας αυτής αναλύεται η χρηματοδότηση των ελληνικών ναυτιλιακών επιχειρήσεων σε περιόδους οικονομικής κρίσης και ο ρόλος των τραπεζών. Σκοπός είναι α) η καταγραφή της πορείας του ελληνικού ναυτιλιακού κλάδου και του ρόλου του για τις μεταφορές και για την ανάπτυξη της εθνικής και της παγκόσμιας οικονομίας, β) η ανάλυση του πως καθορίζεται η προσφορά και η ζήτηση για ναυτιλιακές υπηρεσίες η οποία με τη σειρά της οδηγεί σε ανάγκη για χρηματοδότηση της ναυτιλίας, γ) η καταγραφή των τρόπων χρηματοδότησης των ναυτιλιακών εταιριών και ποιοι είναι οι παράγοντες που επηρεάζουν τη χρηματοδότησή τους, δ) η καταγραφή του ρόλου των τραπεζών σε όλη αυτή τη διαδικασία και η ανάλυση του κινδύνου που αναλαμβάνουν, ε) η παρουσίαση της κατάστασης της χρηματοδότησης του ελληνικού ναυτιλιακού κλάδου κατά την περίοδο από το 2001 έως και το 2016, και στ) ποια ήταν η επίδραση της παγκόσμιας οικονομικής κρίσης στον τραπεζικό δανεισμό και στη χρηματοδότηση του ελληνικού ναυτιλιακού κλάδου. Η εποχικότητα και οι ναυτιλιακοί κύκλοι επηρεάζουν σημαντικά την προσφορά και τη ζήτηση ναυτιλιακών υπηρεσιών. Ωστόσο, πέρα από τους παράγοντες αυτούς, η παγκόσμια οικονομική ύφεση σε συνδυασμό με σωρεία λοιπών γεγονότων, οδήγησαν σε βαθιά κάμψη των σχετικών δεικτών εργασιών του κλάδου στην ελληνική αλλά και στην παγκόσμια οικονομία. Άμεσο αποτέλεσμα της επίδρασης της κρίσης ήταν να σημειωθεί μεγάλη μείωση στις τιμές τόσο των ναύλων, όσο και των αξιών των πλοίων. Επίσης, στο ξέσπασμα της κρίσης η αρνητική πορεία της αγοράς κατέστησε ασύμφορη την επιχειρηματική εκμετάλλευση των πλοίων, δεδομένης της αδυναμίας κάλυψης των λειτουργικών εξόδων και των δανειακών υποχρεώσεων από τα έσοδα ναύλων.
This master thesis analyzes the financing of Greek maritime companies in times of economic crisis and the role of the banking sector.
The purpose of this master thesis is to study the ways a maritime company can get finance in order to be able to be developed and dispose the liquidity required for its operation, especially in times of economic crisis. More specifically, the aim of this master thesis is: (a) to record the course of the Greek shipping industry and its role in transport and in the development of the national and global economy; b) to analyze how the supply and demand for shipping services are determined, which in turn leads to the need for shipping finance; (c) to list the ways of financing shipping companies and the presentation of which factors affect shipping financing, as the maritime sector has a number of peculiarities; (d) the role of banks in this process and the risk the banks undertake; (e) the presentation of the financing situation of the Greek shipping industry over the period from 2001 to 2016; and (f) what was the impact of the global financial crisis on bank lending and on the financing of the Greek shipping industry. In the context of the analysis, some important conclusions emerge that are presented below.
Shipping is one of the most important sectors of economic activity and an integral part of the production process for most economies around the world. However, the global economic downturn, coupled with a number of other events, led to a deep decline in the industry's relevant indicators. The contribution of the shipping industry mainly concerns passenger transport (affecting the final demand of households) and freight transport (affecting the intermediate demand of businesses), either internally or abroad.
As far as Greece is concerned, the Greek shipping industry is one of the main pillars of the Greek economy and together with tourism are the two most important export sectors. Greek shipping holds a prominent position in global maritime transport, as the Greek-controlled fleet is ranked first in terms of world-class merchant fleets and the world's ninth flag-based fleet.
Certainly, this distinction for Greek shipping did not suddenly arise, since, more generally, since 1000 BC, (although the first ship forms seemed to have traveled to the Aegean Sea around on 7,000 BC), Greek civilization was oriented and united to a common purpose, that of investment in shipping. In this way, the Greeks widened their commercial activities significantly, favoring geographic and historical factors. From then until today, there have been many structural changes in the way in which shipping takes place, but the importance of the Greek naval force has remained.
In addition, it should be noted that shipping is characterized by a high level of complexity. A major issue concerning the supply and demand for maritime services is that the shipping industry has a high degree of seasonality and is characterized by the development of shipping cycles that affect the supply and demand relationship for tangible goods. On the one hand, the demand for shipping services is determined by developments in the global economy, political developments and other external factors, the price of freight, the price of substitute transport services, the availability of other available alternative means of transport, the size of the population, the average cargo transport distance, cargo characteristics, cargo volume and ship capacity and passenger requirements. On the other hand, the supply for shipping services arises from decision-making groups and pressure groups, deliveries of new ships, ship dismantling, speed of ships, fuel consumption and expectations of fare developments.
Shipping cycles are a series of alternating phases for the shipping industry that include all phases from growth to recession and are caused by the lack of synchronization in ship production (supply changes) and exogenous demand (which responds to changes in production and trade). The duration of each phase is not stable but depends on factors such as the external environment, developments at a global level, and political, economic and social conditions.
Ship-owners, in order to expand their fleets, proceed to investment, following a credit policy that varies according to the size of the ship's portfolio, the type, capacity and age of its vessels, the existence of ships under construction, the clientele and the way of funding it has been chosen. Funding can be bank financing, yard loans, leasing, self-financing, the stock market and bond financing. However, bank lending is the most common way to raise money for shipping companies, for reasons of profitability, risk spreading, expansion and national interest. Bank lending has several advantages for shipping companies (a means of raising funds, is always available, competitive lending rates, flexibility for borrowers, flexibility of ownership, bank does not intervene in investment, retain profits) but is also characterized by several disadvantages (need to secure lending and guarantee, time consuming process, probability of loan repayment, interest rate risk, no tax exemptions or loans, loan financing usually covers only a percentage of the total value of the investment, a lengthy and thorough application process, the bank does not have direct financial involvement with the investment). The shipping industry differs in terms of its funding from other sectors because the amount of capital required is usually quite high (the capital intensive industry) due to the ownership status of ship-owners and the volatility of the shipping market.
As for the outbreak of the international financial crisis, it dates from 2008 to 2010 and can be distinguished in three different periods. The first period begins in 2007 and reaches September 2008. This is the period from the beginning of a new cycle of mild recession from 2007 to the collapse of Lehman Brothers. The second period starts in September 2008 and basically reaches November 2009, when the debt crisis incident in Dubai occurred. This is a time when the crisis is mainly about the financial sector. Since November 2009 the crisis has changed its character and has been transformed into a financial crisis.
The crisis has affected global credit supply. Before the financial crisis, there was a significant credit expansion, which was largely due to the liberalization of the financial markets and the development of information technology in the banking sector. However, from the outbreak of the financial crisis and then, the trend has been reversed and banks are now less willing to supply credit. The adoption of strict credit policy criteria by banks is the natural reaction given the increased credit risk in times of economic recession. An economic recession is usually accompanied by a decline in credit expansion or credit shrinking due to the fact that banks focus on borrower tracking and on the fact that credit to companies is slowing because the latter are trying to reduce their debt when revenues are limited.
In order to cope with the economies in times of crisis, the Basel Committee published at the end of 2010 two regulatory reports that make up what we call Basel III and whose rules are expected to enter into force in January 2019 to strengthen of the stability of the global banking system. The new rules that are expected to be introduced will modify banks' exposure to credit risk, while adding some innovations such as the maximum leverage ratio, liquidity coverage ratios and net stable funding, the liquidity risk monitoring tools, capital buffer for maintenance and counter-cyclical capital stock.
The shipping industry was directly affected by the turmoil caused by the 2008 financial crisis on global financial markets. The immediate effect of the crisis was a sharp decline in both fares and ship's values. Also, in the outbreak of the crisis, the negative course of the market made it unprofitable to operate the ships, given the impossibility of covering operating costs and borrowing obligations from freight revenues.
Concerning the case of the Greek economy, funding for Greek shipping companies has increased greatly from 2001 up to the outbreak of the crisis in the Greek economy in 2008. From 2009 to 2012, it remained stable, but at a lower level, and got a further decline in 2013, a slight increase in 2014 and a further decline in the years 2015 and 2016. The emergence of the crisis in the Greek economy has obviously affected the bank financing of Greek shipping companies. This happened largely due to the fact that some of the biggest lenders of Greek shipping companies have begun to leave or have already left. Indeed, this trend is expected to continue due to the difficult banking financing conditions that apply especially for small and medium-sized Greek owners, until new lenders will appear to the Greek shipping industry. European banks hold the largest market share, although overall they are gradually reducing their share. Asian banks are declining for the first time in 5 years, as Chinese banks are slowing down their funding. Regarding the number of banking institutions that finance Greek shipping, the figures remain relatively unchanged in recent years. For 2016 Greek shipping was financed by 5 Greek banking institutions, 10 international banks without Greek presence and 36 international banks with Greek presence.