The Greek-owned merchant fleet is a strategic partner for the conduct of US international trade through the provision of reliable and secure maritime transportation to the benefit of American consumers, as it is the biggest fleet belonging to a NATO country and able to operate even in emergency situations. This was the message that representatives of Greek shipowners conveyed to US officials during their recent official visit to the United States. The group was led by the president of the Greek Union of Shipowners (EEE), Nikos Efthymiou, who stressed that the Greek fleet conveys 25 percent of US imports of oil as well as of 25 percent its exports of wheat, coal and other bulk trade to their destinations. In their meetings with US administration officials and senators, Greek shipowners discussed their support for increased safety measures at ports and ships reaching the US, as long as they do not impede trade, and sufficiency in US energy from oil and natural gas. Meanwhile, in a speech to shipowners in Piraeus yesterday, the head of the Athens Stock Exchange Spyros Kapralos explained the bourse’s new regulations on the listing of shipping companies based on financial criteria only. «The broadening of the range of products we offer, the reduction in transaction costs, the improvement in transparency as well as the conditions of the country’s capital market law, render this market compatible with the other EU states now,» Kapralos said. However, Kathimerini understands that several shipowners privately expressed reservations with the Athens bourse, suggesting it is dominated by strong shifts that have recently increased as many foreign portfolios depart.