ECONOMY

Greek fleet strengthening

The Xylas group recently received the first of three cement-carrying vessels ordered at Turkish shipyard Yardimci. The cement-carrier has a shipping capacity of 10,000 tons and has been chartered long-term by French group Lafarge, which will have its commercial use. The other two ships, with a capacity of 6,600 tons each, will be delivered within this year. The three ships will carry the cement of Greek listed company Heracles, which is 59 percent owned by Lafarge. The construction of the three vessels, costing -49 million, has been funded by French bank Natixis in association with Greek consultancy company XRTC. «Our cooperation since 2005 with Natixis bank has allowed for the completion of a significant number of loans for Greek-owned shipping in various domains including tankers, dry-bulkers, passenger-carrying ships and cruisers,» said Giorgos Xiradakis, CEO of XRTC. Quintana In the dry-bulk shipping sector, Quintana Maritime Limited is strengthening its position with the delivery of the last panamax ship from a total of 17 that it acquired in the context of its agreement with Metrobulk, signed in May 2006. This last ship is named Iron Knight and has a total capacity of 76,429 dwt. «This has been the first delivery in 2007. With this and the previous ones our fleet is growing at a rapid rate and Quintana Maritime emerges as one of the biggest dry-bulk shipping companies in international markets,» said Stamatis Molaris, president and CEO of the firm. Last Thursday, Quintana Maritime announced one more deal, concerning the acquisition of a ship from Belgian company Coberfelt Bulk Carriers NV for $73 million. This is about the Lowlands Beilun capesize vessel, constructed in 1999 with a total capacity of 171,000 dwt, that will be delivered in March. Quintana Maritime is a company listed on the Nasdaq market and controls 29 ships, after the recent buy of the 17 vessels from Metrobulk for $735 million. Its fleet has a total capacity of 2.6 million tonnes and an average age of 3.3 years. It includes 11 panamax, 14 kamsarmax and four capesize vessels.