Atlas Maritime makes car carrier debut with CIMC Raffles order

Tanker player diversifies into fossil-free fuel transport economy with first newbuilding — and potentially more to follow

Traditional Greek owner Atlas Maritime is pouring liquidity from a string of successful tanker sales into forward-looking technologies and transport modes.

According to shipping market sources, the Athens and London-based company has inked a 7,000-ceu pure car/truck carrier (PCTC) newbuilding at China’s CIMC Raffles Offshore Engineering.

The LNG dual-fuel ship is scheduled for delivery in September 2024.

Leon Patitsas-led Atlas is also said to be holding options for multiple newbuildings, which it may start exercising later this year.

The price for the single firm newbuilding is said to be about $85m.

These are not the only PCTC ships that CIMC Raffles has secured lately. Shipbuilding sources said that Zodiac Maritime has exercised options for two more such units, bringing the total it has under construction at the yard to six.

Atlas to date has focused on managing and owning tankers. Its decision to expand into car carriers is believed to be motivated by a desire to diversify outside the fossil-fuel sector.

Atlas expects to employ its PCTCs in the growing electric vehicle trade between China, where they are manufactured, and the consumer markets of Europe and the US.

Atlas’ newbuildings have strengthened cargo tanks. This will allow them to carry electric vehicles, which are usually about 40% heavier than conventional ones because of their batteries.

Chinese carmakers are stepping up efforts to further expand their export volume and global presence.

Electric carmaker Tesla is said to have plans to build a new plant in Shanghai that is expected to produce up to 1m cars per year. Tesla is, furthermore, expanding its existing production base to meet growing demand for export.

Companies ordering PCTC newbuildings are betting that the existing car-carrier fleet is old and that the future orderbook is still low.

Clarksons Platou Securities believes between 100 and 200 new car carriers will be needed from 2024 up to 2030 to meet demand growth and compensate for attrition due to age and new regulations.

Profiting from tankers

Part of the liquidity Atlas has used to finance its foray into car carriers comes from the company’s remarkably successful dealmaking with conventional tankers.

TradeWinds reported in April how Atlas made more than $30m in profit by reselling its 115,100-dwt newbuildings Philadelphia Star and New York Star (both built 2022) to General National Maritime Transport Co, commonly known as GNMTC.

The ships were ordered for between $45m and $46m each — the lowest price for such vessels in two decades — and they have now been sold for about $61m apiece.

Atlas is believed to have made another successful sale in late May by agreeing to sell the 105,500-dwt aframax Mitera Marigo (built 2007) for $25.8m.

Some brokers report that the ship’s buyers are based in Singapore.

This is a remarkably high price compared with last-done deals, which underscores an earnings revival in the tanker sector.

On the other hand, the high price also reflects that the Mitera Marigo is a Japanese-built vessel that passed its special survey recently.

Read on

Mirannia Petrocheilou


Mirannia joined Atlas in July 2014 as Purchasing Manager. Prior to joining the company she held various positions of increasing responsibility giving her the qualifications and skills of leading and executing purchasing strategies She holds an MBA from University of Leicester, UK and she is a graduate of Maritime Studies at the University of Piraeus. She is responsible for sourcing, negotiating and purchasing of goods, materials and services to meet the ship’s and company’s budget and operational requirements. As a purchasing Manager she has to create sustainable supply chains having efficient suppliers with consistent steady business that secures highest quality of products and services. Her professional approach ensures that value for money is maximized and cost savings are generated.

Katerina Chrisovergis


Katerina joined Atlas in July 2014 as Accounting Manager. She was introduced to the shipping industry in 2000 when she moved to Greece from Canada. She held the position of D/A controller for clients like Chevron, Exmar and Tankers Int’l at Gulf Agency Company, a leading global provider of shipping & marine services. When GAC relocated its headquarters to Dubai in 2003, she worked as Chief Accountant for a shipowning company with 6 vessels. For the last five years, she worked for the Bernhard Schulte Group as Chief Accountant at Bernhard Schulte-Hellas, manager of the Hanseatic Tankers Pool with a fleet of 12 chemical tankers and at Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement Greece manager of 40 vessels. She holds a BCom in Accounting from Concordia University in Montreal and has completed post graduate studies in Accountancy at McGill University.

Aris Mavris


Capt. Aris joined Atlas Maritime Ltd in September 2007. He holds a Class B’ Captain license and has obtained a Certificate in Shipping & International Trade and Sea Transport from B.C.A. College (1993) as well as holds an MBA, Master of Shipping, Trade and Transport from the University of Aegean (2002). From 1993 to 1999, he worked for Celebrity Cruises Inc., Miami, Florida. He has held several Marine positions at various shipping companies prior joining Atlas Maritime.

Penelope Kallidoni


Penny joined Atlas in 2009 as ISM/ISO Coordinator. Prior to joining Atlas, she has served as the Operations & Commercial Assistant in a NASDAQ listed shipping company for four years. Experienced in ISO, ISM, and ISPS, MLC & TMSA audits, responsible for Collecting and analyzing HSEQ performance and reporting progress on the implementation of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Monitors safety on a daily basis through past and projected indicators, ensuring that all regulations are being followed in the company. She holds a BSc in Sociology from Panteion University of Athens.

Chris Ioannou


Chris joined Atlas Maritime Ltd in 2020 as Technical Manager. He holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from University of Houston in Texas. Prior to joining the company he has held various senior engineering positions in the technical department of shipping companies. He was also the project & site manager of the owners’ supervision teams for numerous new-building projects in Europe & Asia including high technology, high efficiency, ECO design product & chemical tankers. He is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers [ASME].

Basil Dimakakos


Capt. Basil joined Atlas Maritime Ltd in December 2012 and on 2016 he assumed the responsibility to run Atlas’ Commercial Operations. He is the company’s primary contact, and reports directly to the CEO, for all matters related to S&P and time charter and spot fixtures, while he also monitors the daily vessels’ movement and expenditures. Prior to joining the Company, he worked in Singapore as the General Manager for a commodities trading company and before that, he worked in senior positions in Ship Management companies, mainly in the tanker and and dry cargo sectors, for 20 years. He is a qualified Captain Class A for all type of commercial vessels of unlimited size. His has sea-going experience of more than 12 years, onboard oil tankers, mainly ULCC, VLCC and Aframaxes. He holds MSc degree for Maritime Operations from John Moores University of Liverpool and MBA from Phoenix (Arizona) University

Christos Zenios


Christos Zenios joined Atlas as the Financial Manager in 2007; he stepped up to the VP-Finance position in 2011 which he held until the end of 2013, when he was entrusted with the CFO role. Since joining Atlas, he has been responsible for modeling and analyzing financial deals for the company, mitigating financial risks, as well as developing and maintaining relationships with Credit and Investment Banks in relation to the capital structure of the company. Additionally, he oversees the Accounting team and works closely with our auditors to ensure the company meets its reporting requirements in a timely and accurate manner. Prior to joining Atlas, he worked for over 5 years in the Banking Sector, where he served as a Senior Credit Officer in the Corporate Banking & Leasing divisions of well established financial institutions in Greece (Piraeus Bank and Bank of Cyprus). He holds an M.Sc. in Finance from the University of Strathclyde (2005), and a BSc degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Wales, Cardiff (1997).

Leon Patitsas​


Leon founded the company in 2004 and is the Chief Executive officer of Atlas Maritime. He has concluded over $ 1 billion in total transactions (acquisitions and sales) throughout his career. With over 20 years of experience in shipping, he has focused on buying assets at attractive entry points/distressed levels. He has a strong track record in profitably employing the assets and has secured time charter contracts (revenues) of over $500 million, with oil companies (oil majors) and traders. 

He subsequently sold the assets profitably, at the peak of the cycle and successfully produced stellar returns. Prior to founding Atlas Maritime, he gained extensive experience in sales and purchase (acquisitions), chartering, and ship financing, working for renowned Ship-owners in New York, London and Athens.

Leon began his career in New York, working for an investment bank that invested in Hedge Funds and Private Equity. Having extensive knowledge in the capital markets has enabled Atlas to successfully conclude JV’s with major Private Equity firms, in NY and London. Leon is on the board of directors of Concord Maritime, a Commercial Manager, based in Stamford, CT, operating crude tanker pools. He also serves on the Board of directors of the American Club (P&I Club) and is a Council member of the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO). 

Leon was born in London and studied in the United States. He graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a Master’s of Science and earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Tufts University.