Atlantides Shipping, the provider of comprehensive maritime services, continues to further increase its business. Founder and Director Ioannis Kardaris, who has been steering the company for over 30 years, spoke to Romana Moares about the journey from humble beginnings to a world-class ship management company that is soon going to expand its operation.
Shipping is all about right timing and daring decisions.
Ioannis Kardaris founded his Greek company back in 1987, initially as a small travel agency focused on yachting and tourist services. The business gradually expanded to include vessel chartering and sales (including cruise ships) during the 1990s. Today, the business has further expanded, incorporating shipping
and ship management into the fold. Since 2014, the Atlantides Group resides in the heart of Piraeus, one of Europe’s largest ports, in its privately owned offices, occupied by a roster of 25 staff. “Our portfolio of services has grown in the last few years in line with the growing number of clients, primarily as a result of the firstclass quality of services we provide for highly competitive prices,” stated Mr Kardaris.
Before forming Atlantides, Mr Kardaris qualified and worked as a cruise ship captain; an industry he knows from top to bottom.
In this severely competitive marketplace and the others that the Atlantides Group now operates within, the company’s founder is all too aware that customer service is the key. Therefore, the company has a strong emphasis on competent staff who are all appropriately trained and able to satisfy even the most complex and difficult clients’ requirements.
Mr Kardaris also stressed the importance of the company’s network of suppliers who all play a major part in the company’s performance.
“With regards to the breadth of services we provide, the number of our suppliers is high. As safety is such a priority in our business, all the equipment and related services must be of utmost quality. We have long-term relationships with a lot of suppliers but at the same time, constantly look for new partnerships and companies that may provide innovative components and services, so that our response to clients’ needs improves continuously.”
“Client satisfaction and trust are the two aspects that drive and motivate our work and will continue to do so“
Satisfaction & Trust
Atlantides Group’s services range from chartering and brokerage though operation and ship management to ship repairs with a worldwide coverage.“We provide our clients with first-class chartering services through our expanded network and personal relations with brokers and ship owners all around the world,” said Mr Kardaris. “We also offer innovative and reliable solutions in chartering to the most challenging projects.” The company ensures a safe and efficient operation of its clients’ assets, including the day-to-day operation of the vessels, effective voyage management, appointing vessels’ agents at the different ports of call, arranging for all necessary repairs and complying with rules and regulations.
Over the past three decades, the company has built a wide and international client base covering Europe, the Middle East (particularly the UAE) as well as Russia and South America. Recent projects include the chartering and sale of vessels for the Ministry of Transport of a major European country and the brokerage of various passenger ro-ro ferries.
Other examples that demonstrate the company’s scope of services include the chartering and management of a passenger’s vessel and landing craft for the Al Jaber Services LLC in Abu Dhabi, and the sale of the landing craft vessel Carolyn (previously called Olympios Apollon). The company operates a fleet consisting of several vessel types including multipurpose vessels, passenger vessels and a ferry. “In 2017, we achieved an important milestone when we bought three vessels, Sparta, Sparta II and Sparta III, complementing the fleet and successfully managing and operating them from September 2016 to April 2017,” remarked Mr Kardaris, who hinted that another milestone was coming soon. “We can’t reveal any details just yet but the outcome should be new additions to our fleet – one general cargo, one heavy duty and one multipurpose vessel. There is a lot of work involved at the moment but all should be ready by the end of the year.”
Right solutions at the right time
Mr Kardaris affirmed that the company is ready to develop any new services that may emerge from the needs of the evolving marketplace.
“The maritime sector is changing rapidly, with technology being the biggest player,” he pointed out. “Of course, there are challenges ahead, however, the biggest opportunities always emerge during the most difficult and demanding situations and we always try to get the very best of such situations. “We will always try to get more clients and expand our operation. We provide a high level of services at competitive prices and our vessels are new; this is a big advantage and something that would draw new clients in.” The company is also planning to capitalise on the opportunities in the accommodation vessel segment, emerging both in Greece and the Middle East; a line of business where the company has a proven track record.
Successful projects in this sector include the management of Poseidon, a vessel purchased by Atlantides, modified as an accommodation ship, before being sold on but still under the
management of Atlantides. Today, the ship is accommodating the needs of workers in Dubai within the construction of the Palm Island Project. “The offshore business is certainly a sector which we watch very closely,” confirmed Mr Kardaris. The Atlantides Group is set to continue strengthening its position nationally and internationally with its focus on top class services and superior, flexible solutions to the most complicated issues. “Client satisfaction and trust are the two aspects that drive and motivate our work and will continue to do so,” guaranteed Mr Kardaris, affirming that creativity, work ethic, innovation, teamwork, personal service based on each client’s needs and the continuous efforts of well-trained and efficient personnel are the factors behind the continued growth of this Greek shipping success story.