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Basil Karatzas to speak at Annual Conference of Association of Bulk Terminal Operators, Riga, Latvia

Updated: Sep 5, 2022

After a two-year COVID19-related hiatus, the Association of Bulk Terminal Operators (ABTO) will be hosting again their annual conference this autumn at the Freeport of Riga Authority, in Latvia on October 11th and 12th, 2022. Typically hosted at a different European port each year, the conference tends to bring together bulk operators, shippers, charterers but also analysts and financiers, to discuss current markets with the bulk terminals industry.drought


Basil M Karatzas, CEO of Karatzas Marine Advisors & Co., has been invited again to present at ABTO’s annual event and discuss the coal market, indeed. Mr Karatzas has presented at ABTO at their Amsterdam annual conference pre-COVID, and he has been a monthly contributor to ABTO’s quarterly, the BTI Magazine, having discussed the iron ore, grains, cement and coal markets.


Inland Transport of Thermal Coal by Barge, on the Ohio River. Image Credit: Karatzas Images

Thermal Coal, having been left for dead a couple of years ago, it has had a vertiginous trajectory since then, with the price of coal having sky-rocked from appr. $25/ton to more than $450/ton. In a world that has gone from “too much energy” at the times of the pandemic to “not enough power” in a post-COVID recovering world, boosted by fiscal stimulus packages globally and shaken by global supply chain disruptions; Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Germany’s hard deadline to shut down nuclear power-plants by end of 2022, and a draught season that has made hydro-electric precious, there have been few energy raw sources with immediate spare production capacity, carbon emissions and ESG concerns be damned. The demand for coal is so strong that the U.S. has been on a tear exporting coal, especially to Germany; such trend has had an impact on U.S. energy markets, but also on the U.S. and international shipping markets. For the Jones Act, inland barge traffic downriver the Mississippi River, as coal has to be shipped by barge downriver to New Orleans for loading on international dry-bulk carrier vessels for export. There was a time when open hopper barges for coal were auctioned due to financial defaults by coal companies, but now there is no week that our office does not field shipbrokerage inquiries by buyers of hopper barges.


The Association of Bulk Terminal Operators (ABTO) acts as a forum to influence the decisions impacting the global transportation of bulk commodities born out of an under-representation of the sector at national government and international regulatory level. ABTO provides a voice for bulk terminal operators, at a national and international level, providing a forum for its members to discuss the issues impacting seaborne trade and the global transportation of bulk commodities.


The host Port of Riga is strategically located in the Republic of Latvia on the east coast of the Baltic Sea. Latvia is a Former Soviet Union (FSU) country but now member of the European Union. The Freeport of Riga Authority, as the port is formally known, handled almost 3,000 port calls in 2021, handled more than 21 million tons of cargo and serves a market of more than 250 million people in the hinterland.


Please join us at the ABTO’s Annual Conference at Riga, Latvia! To view the Agenda, please click here!


To register, please click here!


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