The European Tugowners Association (ETA) celebrated its 56th Annual Meeting for the first time in Limassol, Cyprus,. This year´s event was kindly hosted by ETA local member Vassiliko Terminal Services. More than 120 participants among ETA full and associate member delegates and guests attended the Annual Meeting making this event another success when it comes to organization, participation and the quality of the debates.

During the 3 days event ETA members reinforced their business and personal relationships as they discussed the European towage sector situation. Delegates specifically addressed the impact that shipping developments and EU policies have on the industry, in special, the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation and its possible repeal. Furthermore, ETA presented during the Annual Meeting its new video on efficient and safe harbour towage operations, which has been produced in close cooperation with the European Maritime Pilots Association. You can view it here.

The ETA Annual General Meeting approved the change in the chairmanship of the Association. After two productive years Leendert Muller (Multraship Towage & Salvage) handed over the ETA baton to Kimmo Lehto (Alfons Håkans AS), who will be the new Chairman for the next two years term. His previous position as Deputy Chairman will be taken by Vicente Boluda Ceballos (Boluda Corporacion Maritima SL).

Leendert Muller said, “It has been a privilege to have served as chairman of this great organisation for the past two years. I like to think in that time that we have highlighted some of the major issues facing our specialist industry sector, not least the threat to our continued profitability and efficiency caused by ongoing consolidation and a relentless focus on cost at the expense of other, more important considerations. By bringing these issues out into the open, I believe we have helped raise awareness of the challenges facing European tug owners and have promoted a dialogue on how best to meet them. I am delighted to say that we will continue to do so under the very capable leadership of Kimmo Lehto, whom I wish every success as he takes over at the ETA helm”.

This year´s Annual Meeting Conference addressed the challenges and trends in European Shipping and Ports. The speakers, ranging from representatives of the government of Cyprus as Deputy Minister for Shipping Mrs. Natasa Pilides, to the President of FEPORT, Günther Bonz, provided different perspectives on the main threats and opportunities impacting the shipping sector. In this regard, speakers focused on the increasing impact of megaships, both on ports and on the towage industry, and highlighted the relevance of skills acquisition and the adoption of digital solutions to keep the EU lead in the sector.

Past ETA Chairman Leendert Muller and new Chairman Kimmo Lehto

The European towage industry as a key player in the logistics chain has proven flexibility and ambition to adapt to these new shipping challenges. Nowadays, ETA members own the greenest and most technologically advanced tugs and continually  strive to offer the best service. In spite of the enormous challenges caused by the expansion of megaships, the European tug fleet can and will be efficient by adhering to the highest safety standards” says Kimmo Lehto, ETA Chairman.

ETA, is the only association that represents the Tug sector at a European level, and is composed of 88 full members in 25 countries, who own or operate a combined fleet of over 900 tugs in European ports. Its membership ranges from major towage companies operating more than 100 tugs worldwide to family businesses and port authorities with very small-to-medium-size tug fleets.

ETA’s work during the next year will focus on consolidating our relationship with our stakeholders at the EU level, and the strengthening of the contacts with other tugowners or shipping associations all around the world. Moreover, ETA will organize its second Autumn Conference in Rotterdam within the context of the Europort Exhibition (5-8 of November). The event will review current business models and analyse whether there has been a change, en par with innovation and industry pressures, in the way business is done. ETA wishes to invite all its members, full and associate, stakeholders and media partners to attend this Conference.


For more information contact:   

Anna Maria Darmanin

Categories: EventsNews


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