The principal of Phoenix Shipping & Trading on the highs and lows of a career in shipping
Where it all began: Probably somewhere in my very early years of life, when, looking at a picture my parents had of myself as a toddler in a ’baby safety harness’, it was the 1960s after all, being held tightly by a typical Greek salt dog on board a very old looking freighter with accommodation amidships under a dreary grey sky at an anchorage off an unnamed English port.
My breakthrough moment: Two of them actually, first at age 16, I signed on a bulk carrier as a cadet deck boy for the summer and then at age 24 in New York, bored with my banking job and deciding after a late night chance encounter with a chartering broker that I am quitting the bank I worked for and embarking on what has been a great ride over the past 30 years.
Who I looked up to: All those who with passion, perseverance and patience outdid even themselves and excelled in our business yet kept their feet on the ground and their head screwed on right.
My childhood hero: The boy Remi from Hector Malot’s novel Sans Famille.
My best moment in shipping: Too early to tell...
My worst moment in shipping: Never regretted anything including my mistakes which made me wiser and stronger and better equipped to manage the risk. Would I make them again? Hopefully not.
The funniest moment in shipping: A broker, evidently stuttering from a long liquid lunch, who had authority to fix at US$10.10 pmt for a 40,000-mt cargo and fixed at US$10 pmt and insisted he fixed according to my authority, said he, “10 10, 10 10, I said we fixed 10 10 as you told me.”
I learned most from: My father, my colleagues and my wife.
My guilty pleasure: Smoking.
My favourite meal: It’s a toss-up between fresh fish on the grill and roasted piglet on the spit, I know they are miles apart but I admit I have two sides.
My favourite location: Cruising in blue waters under blue skies in the Aegean.
My one regret: I should have sold earlier and bought later.
My advice for a young person in shipping: Never give up, but learn when to say no. Good business is when both parties make money and don’t forget to respect the world around you if you want it to respect you.
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