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INTERVIEW

05 Απριλίου 2020.

JIM HONDROULIS

 

 

‘‘There’s the only way to success: perseverance, honesty and hard work. Enjoy what you do’’

 

 

jimhondroulis1Jim Hondroulis is Managing Director at Dynamic Shipping LLC and Chairman & Managing Director at Dynamic Energy, LLC. Dynamic Shipping & Trading LLC.

Dynamic Shipping and Trading, LLC is a ship chartering, trading and logistics company established in 2004.  The company is comprised of three divisions:Dynamic Shipping, Dynamic Trading, Dynamic Energy.

Mr Jim Hondroulis states: «Then one day, a friend from Mexico called looking to charter a ship to carry iron ore from Mexico to China. This reignited the spark within and I created Dynamic Shipping.

This project involved meeting the miners in Mexico and the buyers in China. That introduction was the beginning of Dynamic Shipping and Trading. While visiting these mines, I realized most of the mining equipment used was of American origin. Being an entrepreneur all my life, I realized the need for this equipment and started buying and selling minerals and mining equipment».

Mr Jim Hondroulis also mentioned: «The Energy part of the company happened by chance. A friend in Haiti with whom I corroborated in starting a feeder shipping line asked me if I knew any companies that could produce methanol. In my many travels, I have always met people from all types of industries, creating a database of contacts who I would refer to if the opportunity called. I contacted a friend in Brazil who would be able to help my friend in Haiti and started the negotiations for a methanol plant in Haiti and in Belize».

About COVID-19 crisis Mr Jim Hondroulis says « The market will suffer a lot from this uncertainty. The old time Greek shipowners were a different breed,in absence of today’s technology the old timers dealt with their gut. In today’s world, technology does 95% of the thinking, the other 5% is done at the board room. Today, I can work from home, my people for their safety, they do the same. Millions of other companies are doing the same. Once the companies get used to this atmosphere of working from home, a lot will continue to do so».

Mr Jim Hondroulis points out that «Now we are all in the same boat, how we will keep our families and our personnel safe. Now our priorities have shifted, we put the people first then the business».

About his story of life Mr Hondoulis says « I’m blessed to be Greek American I have kept the good Greek traditions and acquired the American ingenuity».

 

 

Interview to: Georgia Ermidi

 

You are Managing Director at Dynamic Shipping LLC and Chairman & Managing Director at Dynamic Energy, LLC. Dynamic Shipping & Trading LLC.

Dynamic Shipping and Trading, LLC is a ship chartering, trading and logistics company established in 2004.  The company is comprised of three divisions: Dynamic Shipping, Dynamic Trading, Dynamic Energy. Could you tell me the History of your company from the foundation until now?

 

All my life, I have been very active within the shipping community, traveling around the world, immersed in projects that I was passionate about and enjoyed. Upon retirement, I found myself with nothing to do! I realized that only sitting home, going to the pool, that was not good enough for me. Then one day, a friend from Mexico called looking to charter a ship to carry iron ore from Mexico to China. This reignited the spark within and I created Dynamic Shipping.

This project involved meeting the miners in Mexico and the buyers in China. That introduction was the beginning of Dynamic Shipping and Trading. While visiting these mines, I realized most of the mining equipment used was of American origin. Being an entrepreneur all my life, I realized the need for this equipment and started buying and selling minerals and mining equipment.

The Energy part of the company happened by chance. A friend in Haiti with whom I corroborated in starting a feeder shipping line asked me if I knew any companies that could produce methanol. In my many travels, I have always met people from all types of industries, creating a database of contacts who I would refer to if the opportunity called. I contacted a friend in Brazil who would be able to help my friend in Haiti and started the negotiations for a methanol plant in Haiti and in Belize. This collaboration also resulted in a project to build houses for the earthquake victims in Haiti.

Two years ago, I proposed to build a waste to energy plant outside of Thessaloniki in Mavrorahi. After spending a lot of money for the project, I was a victim of the previous government, and it was rejected.

Going back in my history, I was the first westerner to negotiate with the Chinese Shipbuilding Industries to build ships there in 1980, after they built two ships for two Hong Kong owners. I also negotiated with the world bank on behalf of China for loans for their shipyards infrastructure to build these ships!

 

How easy is to perform the service to your clients in a high level prospect?

 

There are few companies that can provide the services that I do. Because of my reputation and friendship with my clients, they know that I will perform, they know that with me, there’s nothing that cannot be done, I will find a way to do it.

 

What strategy do you follow?

 

There’s the only way to success: perseverance, honesty and hard work. Enjoy what you do.

 

What was your greatest success?

 

I have multiple success, but the latest is to sign a large contract with Mexican Miners and Chinese buyers.

 

What are some good childhood memories?

 

I must mention that my parents and grandparents were refugees from Mikra Asia. After they were thrown out of Mikra Asia they landed in Hios. All my father’s siblings went to the United States from there. Four of my siblings were born in Hios. The other four of us were born in Nea Kios, a small fishing village built by the French. The town is about five kilometers southwest of Nafplio.

After WWII,the family bought a small Canadian vessel. The ship was loaded in Baltimore with flour, sugar and other food products and came to Nafplio to discharge the food that was donated by my family to be distributed to the people of Nea Kios. Our home became the warehouse. I will never forget my parents and grandparents how happy they were given the food to everyone and the people’s smiles waiting in lines to receive the food!! Unforgettable memories!!

 

What makes you happy?

 

My family, I am blessed with my wife Helen, who has been my partner and the rock of our family. As they say behind every great man there’s a great woman! And I am blessed by having our smart beautiful daughter Lia who is the love of our life. She is a scientist with a PhD in Biomedical Engineering. 

 

These days it is hard not to talk about COVID-19. Which are the big challenges for work in the pandemic Covid-19?

 

In short, the uncertainty. I read many articles, I have time now to watch the news, and notice the inconsistency. Today they say one thing, tomorrow ALL the “experts” are saying something totally different. The definition of the word “expert” is a person who has special skill or knowledge in some particular field. So how can these “experts” give an expert opinion on this worldwide pandemic that has also affected the world’s economy when something like this has never happened before?

 

What have you found to be the single toughest nut to crack in this situation?

 

Honestly, there isn’t only one. No one knows when the Chinese plants will start running, and when they will start importing minerals again. They are not truthful with their announcements. We don’t know what the Americans will do?

 

What impact do you expect this crisis to have in the shipping market?

 

The market will suffer a lot from this uncertainty. The old time Greek shipowners were a different breed,in absence of today’s technology the old timers dealt with their gut. In today’s world, technology does 95% of the thinking, the other 5% is done at the board room. Today, I can work from home, my people for their safety, they do the same. Millions of other companies are doing the same. Once the companies get used to this atmosphere of working from home, a lot will continue to do so. The reason is obvious, savings on overhead. There’s a bright side for the industry.

 

How are you and your company handling the COVID-19 situation?

 

We work from home. There is no need to be in the same office. All of the clients in China are in quarantine, the plants they say are working again but can’t sign contracts. The miners have the same issues with their personnel. Stevedores, truckers, etc. It’s difficult to offer a price for the minerals when you can’t really get a forward rate for the ocean freight. The owners have to work with the uncertainties at the ports, port congestions, new health regulations, not enough stevedores to load/ discharge the vessel. Demurrages are piling up, all these are unknowns, we will find out after the crisis”.

 

During your career, have you ever been in a difficult situation or a global crisis like this before, and how did you address the situation?

 

Yes, I have.  All the past shipping recessions lasted on average of approximately two years. There was one exception, the most recent one lasted almost seven years and destroyed many well-known shipping companies around the world. We managed to survive by saving money for the recession. No one had predicted a recession of this magnitude. Now we are all in the same boat, how we will keep our families and our personnel safe. Now our priorities have shifted, we put the people first then the business.

 

What type of initiatives were you planning in 2020 before the virus crisis began and how have they been affected?

 

As everyone knows that no contracts are signed until after the Chinese New Year. We had contract negotiated before Christmas and ready to be signed. Unfortunately, the Coronavirus was announced during the Chinese New Year. The people were told to stay home for another fifteen days, they still have not returned to work. The contracts are still not signed.

 

What is the main goal that you seek to achieve in 2020?

 

To get the contracts signed and start shipping the minerals.

 

What types of initiatives are you planning to build when this crisis is over?

 

The projections so far for ending this virus is anyone’s guess. We are talking to our clients and miners, staying on top of the situation. Looking for new products, new miners, we now have manganese ore, and copper ore from Brazil, and manganese ore besides the iron ore from Mexico.

 

With the Coronavirus covid-19 and the grave disruptions it has caused in global trade are you concerned about the long-term effect on the shipping industry?

 

Trade has been severely impacted as we are seeing charter rates down, and supply chains disrupted.In the future it could become increasingly harsh for the whole global sector, however, we need to remain positive that the industry will bounce back. This disruptive period could become a starting point for new practices such as digital and technological advancements in the shipping industry.

 

What is your opinion about the impact of Covid-19 on the global shipping sector. How long will take for global economy to recover?

 

This crisis will have an impact on global shipping markets, mainly due to the drop in demand for goods from China. We can see this having a ripple effect on everything from container ships to oil tankers. Covid-19 will have an impact across all industries, but particularly in the supply chain and in the transportation sector, it won’t just be in the short term.

 

Mr Hondroulis you are Greek. What are the first things that come to your mind when you think of Greece?

 

I’m blessed to be Greek American I have kept the good Greek traditions and acquired the American ingenuity.

 

How would you describe yourself in three words?

 

Honest, Influential, Happy

 

What special advice do you have for someone who wants to work for the shipping industry?

 

Never stop learning. Make sure you enjoy what you are doing.

 

What success means to you?

 

I get up in the morning, I’m happy, I thank the lord for giving me another day!

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