Interview of Mrs Palaiologou to Mr. John Megariotis

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Mrs Palaiologou, you are the first woman to assume Vice President, Regional Chief Executive Hellenic, Cyprus, Malta & Black Sea Region not only to Bureau Veritas but also to other well-known Boards of Inspectors.

Do you want to tell us how you feel, like a woman in such a high administrative position?

Taking up my new duties is a new challenge for me.

For the woman who wants to work in the maritime sector, in addition to knowing the subject matter of her work very well, and being extremely hardworking and dedicated, she must be confident that she is capable of accomplishing everything required from her and she is able to overcome all complications. At the same time, self-discipline and Organizational skills are imperative in order for the tasks to be followed through successfully.  I must emphasize, however, for me, the most important traits for a successful woman in shipping, are her dynamism, her ability to make quick and effective decisions, her leadership qualities and correct instinct.

I would say that in the initial phases of collaboration, the demands from women in shipping are higher. However, along the way with progress and accomplishments, emphasis is placed on the individual and his/her capabilities and not the gender of the person.

Allow me say that female nature, when compared with male, is more compatible with the management of maritime activities. Women, by nature are able to manage various diverse matters simultaneously, efficiently and effectively. It is common for us, as our whole lives we function that way, as women, whether it is for professional issues or not.

Can you briefly outline the course of Bureau Veritas and in particular, Bureau Veritas Hellas from its establishment to date?

Bureau Veritas in Greece was established in 1966 at Piraeus (50 years ago), initially as an agency office and was controlled by Mr Nikos Argyrakis, Marine Engineer.

In 1968 a new office was rented in Akti Miaouli situated next to the port of Piraeus and this is where BV started its activity as Marine branch of the Head Office in Paris, under the direct control of Mr Pierre Prost.

Bureau Veritas was operating under the name

“BUREAU VERITAS – REGISTRE DE CLASSIFICATION INTERNATIONAL DES NAVIRES ET DES AERONEFS”

In 1971 Mr Prost was replaced by Mr Kermaidic  who served in this position for almost 20 years and then by Mr Pierre Peynaud in 1990, Mr Hyung Duc Bau in 1996, Mr Peynaud again in 1998, Mr Didier Bouttier in 2000 and Mr Francois Teissier in 2008. In 2012 and for the first time in the history of Bureau Veritas Piraeus, the office was entrusted to “Greek hands” to a Veteran of shipping Mr Lambros Chahalis.

Today, since the beginning of 2017, I, Paillette Palaiologou  am serving as Country Chief Executive of Greece,  controlling  BV HELLAS S.A and as Regional Chief Executive of the Hellenic and Black Sea Region.

Since its foundation, Bureau Veritas office at Piraeus consisted of senior experts in shipping, mainly well trained Marine Engineers and Naval Architects able to serve the ships always under the concept of safety and environmental protection.

Throughout the years Greek ship owned fleet has a continued growth and remains No.1 in the International Shipping. BV Piraeus office has its substantial share on this market. The last years that there was a lot of development in the Global and Greek Shipping Industry with substantial new orders, BV was able to secure a big part of it. In the meantime a number of Greek ship-owners entrusted BV and transferred to us an important number of their vessels, resulting to a substantial increase of the fleet classed by BV. This is due to the fact that BV was and will always be a close associate and friend of the Greek Ship Owner, offering 24/7 service, high quality know-how and above all trying to solve every vessel’s problem as if it was our own.

Today in BV Piraeus office we are controlling 930 vessels of 33 M GT with average age of almost 10 years with excellent quality indicators.

What are the activities of Bureau Veritas Hellas in Shipping?

BV Piraeus office today consists of a team of more than 100 people with strong expertise and full delegation in the Technical matters.  It has developed an autonomy as an office in technical and commercial aspects and has full delegation / authority to decide for daily business issues.

So here in Piraeus, we have all we need to back our clients.  We have skilled and dedicated engineers, deep expertise, a local plan approval office with real autonomy to act quickly, a training centre and survey staff who knows how to expedite their work and keep ships safe and operating smoothly.  We also have a service centre the so called “Marine Center” with experts who can respond to all sorts of queries about ships’ classification and statutory compliance and help you to find ways to save you fuel, energy, emissions or solve other problems. All of that is backed by a very high technology research and development programme and a global network which ensures that the needs of local owners are met wherever in the world the need arises.

Bureau Veritas Piraeus office covers on top of Greece also Cyprus, Malta and the Black Sea Region on Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro, Ukraine.

Bureau Veritas Hellas, apart from its operations in Shipping, offers services as a certification body. In which areas is it active?

Bureau Veritas Hellas S.A. is also the leading management system certification provider in Greece.

The Bureau Veritas Hellas Certification portfolio includes:

– QHSE Management System Certifications, i.e. ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001, EMAS

– Sector Specific Solutions and Management Systems, i.e. Automotive, Aerospace, Food, Medical, Cosmetics, IT

– Supply Chain and Risk Management, i.e. ISO 27001, ISO 28000, ISO 31000

– Corporate Responsibility and Sustainable Development, i.e. SA8000, CAP 26000, ISO 50001, EU-ETS

– Second Party Audits and Customized Audit Solutions, i.e. Development of Audit Programs and Certification Schemes

Bureau Veritas Hellas offers high-quality training services. Do you want to tell us what these are?

Bureau Veritas Hellas offers Training and Certification of Personnel and competencies, by delivering IRCA registered courses on the ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001, ISO 22001 Management Systems, i.e. Quality Lead Auditors, Information Security Management System Lead Auditor, Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), and Internal Auditor Courses on all the above Management Systems.

It also provides Marine oriented courses to cover the needs on the ISM Code – Internal Auditors, ISPS Code and MLC, and courses in Specialized areas like, Time and Stress Management, Negotiating Skills, Train the Trainer and Communication Skills.

Greek shipowners own about 20% of the world’s merchant fleet. Why do they prefer your own Register of Companies and not one of your competitors?

Shipowners, shipyards and offshore operators come to Bureau Veritas as we offer them a peace of mind that their projects will work and be safe. In BV we do not apply corners cut, we offer highest technology and most rigorous scrutiny and we make sure that all projects move along quickly.

Shipowners are not coming to us just for class and statutory matters, but also for the wide range of responsive services which Bureau Veritas delivers helping owners operate more efficiently. Today we see our classed fleet grow globally to over 11,350 ships, and much of that growth came from owners in Greece moving vessels to BV class. Owners in BV class are pushing technology frontiers, moving into Arctic-capable LNG carriers, for example. We are with the owners every step of the way, using our expertise to give them the confidence to move into new areas and new markets.

Nowhere is that more true than in our entrepreneurial Hellenic & Black Sea Region.

Here we live by the market and when owners decide to act, they want to act while the market is right. When they choose Bureau Veritas as a partner, owners know they have access to expertise that moves at their pace and with their priorities.

What are the future goals of Bureau Veritas Hellas?

Continuing to be totally client focused. That’s what sets BV apart. We understand the commercial realities and priorities of shipowners and provide the technical support they need whenever and wherever they need it. The work we are doing on digital transformation will help enhance our services – some of that benefit will be unseen but will be felt through greater efficiency and performance from our daily surveying through to back office functions like invoicing. We have broadened our capabilities with new acquisitions of leaders in their fields – like TMC Marine. We will continue to make the most of our deep technical capabilities to support our clients.-