Konstantinos Katradis CEO of KATRADIS Group interview on “Naftika Hronika” Maritime Magazine

– KATRADIS Group of companies has a very long presence in the maritime business, most specific in the production and trade of mooring ropes. How a family group based on traditional principles survives in an era of competition?

Based on traditional principles, such as consistency, commercial trust and quality, we are planning our way in to the future and we fortified and reinforced our presence in the international market.

– What are the main milestones in the long-term history of KATRADIS Group.

Our company was established by my grandfather, who came in Greece from Smyrna Turkey, were he used to supply with ropes the Allied fleets. As such in 1936 the KATRADIS company was founded in an era that the maritime industry was not as developed as today. My father was involved in the industry during the 1950s and by the 1970s he had begun the creation of a world-wide network of sales. During the 1980s we established our rope producing factory in Greece, while the last years we have developed High performance ropes specialized for the offshore industry made by UHMWPE.

– Many companies in the international arena are the recipients of state sponsorships. Do you consider that such procedures create issues in the competition and how do you face them.

Under certain circumstance the state interference can be positive, the state should operate as a regulator on some cases. As a company we are not against state interferences, as far they are towards the right direction.

What is the role of corporate responsibility and sustainability on the daily operation of your group?

KATRADIS group has developed an efficient system of environmental management, in an effort to reduce the environmental effects of the company’s activities. Beside the production of the ropes, all the operations of the company are now directed towards sustainability. The cooperation with companies that share the same principles remains a priority for our Group. As such our company is oriented towards friendlier for the environment products, and we already are in our way of promoting a related rope series – the eco ropes – a green product using recycled material.

We also emphasize in the utilization of ropes already in use, so we can offer to our client’s extra services. As a result, the life cycle of ropes is closing down and their effect in the environment is reduced significant in accordance with the principles of the cycling economy.

Regarding the corporate responsibility, the company has a long tradition of active contribution on covering the needs of the Greek Navy as and various social foundations including schools.

– Lately on the foremost are products that target the reduction of ships emissions. Is it also valid for the rope industry, as it is a product that is made by many different materials and its recycling must be a difficult procedure?

Indeed, ropes are products that can add on the reduction of ships emissions. As such the Eco Ropes series are ropes that use recycled materials that preserve them as they are while extending their life cycle.

– The efforts to revive the ship repair industry in Greece, will affect the KATRADIS Group as and related companies? Further do you think it will affect the development of the Greek cluster?

The revival of the ship repair industry will be important for the national economy, a pylon for the evolution of our country. Further it will add to the national income, add working spots, and also help many companies that are associated with the shipping industry. However, as we exporting 80% of our products to the largest ports of the world, we are not in the dependance of the ship repair industry. Obviously, the position of the port of Piraeus is advantageous for international trade, as it is located between the Black Sea, the Mediterranean and North Africa. As the port of Piraeus is further expanding as a port and as a hub of ship repairs, it will also affect and the development of our Group. Despite the reduction of the ship repair industry the previous decades, the marine ropes industries have been developed constantly and progressively. As such the industrial production of our country preserves a dynamic presence, although it is not in the worlds peak.

– What are the future development plans of your Group? Do you plan to expand in to new markets and new areas?

We are already developing new special ropes for offshore platforms as part of the support of port infrastructure planning and the expansion of our network. Further, abroad we already exporting to the largest ports. Singapore is the largest port we export our products, while we do have a significant presence in Rotterdam as well. Further we also look in to the American market that is in rise.

The yachting sector presents similar development. Greece has become a very attractive destination for mega yachts and KATRADIS Group of companies have been introduced dynamically in the sector. We have already opened a retail store in the Marina Zeas of Piraeus and we plan to develop it further.

– Considering that the Group is based in Piraeus, how do you judge the potentialities of the city as a center of Greek shipping cluster, in comparison with similar shipping centers in Asia and the Rest of Europe?

The Greek shipping industry is among the top of the world, as such Piraeus already considered as an important maritime center and a great number of maritime industries are based in the city.

– What values and what principles have passed in you by the previous generations and which of them do you consider as the most important that you plan to pass in the following generations.

Commercial trust, consistency, honesty and emphasis in quality are the principles that my father was taught by his grandfather. He duly adopted them and then pass them into me. I do hope that I will also be successful into passing them in the fallow generations.