“It was just crazy, I have never seen such a Posidonia before.”

The managing director of Optima International Shipbroking Services — one of the few Greek shipbroking firms with a presence in five different countries in Europe and Asia — expresses the sentiments shared by many of the 40,000 shipping professionals who attended this year’s Posidonia.

“Huge crowds descended on the event, from every segment, from every sector — everything that had to do with shipping was here,” Skottis told TradeWinds on the sidelines of Optima’s own, well-attended party in the company’s head offices at the seaside Athens district of Voula.

“You saw whole groups of people coming down from Japan, China and Taiwan, visiting one office after another, selling finance, bareboat and newbuilding projects,” he said.

It was so busy that experienced managers like Skottis started to worry if things had not heated up a bit too much.

“Sometimes you stop and think that it all feels a bit abnormal … you say to yourself, ‘It looks a little strange’.”

Optima is tapping into market growth by widening its dry cargo and tanker chartering offering.

Present in Greece, Switzerland, Dubai, China and Singapore, the company is hiring more brokers, particularly in Asia.

Optima held a Posidonia party on 6 June 2024. Photo: Optima International Shipbroking Services

Established by the late Antony Roussos in 1981, Optima had always sought to become a brokerage with a wide international presence, handling spot chartering, contracts of affreightment and other projects.

Recently, it has resumed its international expansion, increasing its workforce to 33 brokers in Athens, 12 in Shanghai, seven in Dubai and three in Singapore.

Two more hires are in the pipeline in Dubai and additional ones are in Singapore, where Optima employs local staff.

Particular care has been taken to expand the tanker chartering desk, which covers dirty petroleum products, from small tankers to VLCCs, as well as clean petroleum products.

“We used to be under-represented in tankers, so we try to step up a bit,” Skottis said.