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Danaos denounces protectionism threat to shipping

One of the major threats to shipping was identified by John Coustas, the president and CEO
of ship owner Danaos Corporation, who said that deglobalisation is the major threat to
shipping today.

Speaking at Posidonia’s Capital Link conference in Athens, Coustas said that globalised trade is better for the world’s population because it reduces costs and he added that container shipping was a disruptive force.

"The biggest danger to shipping is deglobalisation, protectionism is a major challenge.
Deglobalisation and protectionism of people and industry, globalisation brings the world
closer and, in this respect, integrates markets in a much better way and means the world
works as one."

According to Coustas, the West, by which he means mainly Europe and the US, offers some
optimism because they do not have the workforce to substitute Chinese production.

“Immigration is the only way for the West to maintain its workforce,” said Coustas.

Sitting on the same panel as Coustas, Hing Chao, executive chairman of Wah Kwong
Maritime Transport Holdings, pointed out that the world is no longer bi-Polar, meaning, that
two major controlling powers had dominated world politics and economics in the past.
Instead, we live in a “multi-polar world,” which is complex and very challenging and has
delivered many so-called black-swan events.

Harry N. Vafias, founder of Stealth Gas, said that wars had proved to be positive for shipping although he emphasised, he did not like war.

This decade had started off badly said another panel member Nikos Tsakos who pointed to
COVID-19, Ukraine and the Gaza conflict as disruptive events.

Although Chao pointed out that after a series of black swan events, they cease to be black
swan occurrences.

Meanwhile, Coustas also took aim at the green transition, claiming: “No-one is thinking
about who pays the bill.”

He also said there has been no significant premium from shippers who are the ones that are supposed to be driving the transition.

Mary Ann Evans,

Correspondent at Large

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