A recent news article published in the Riviera speaks about Lessons from a life in shipping: Dimitris Harbis, MTM.
MTM’s director of global business development
Dimitris Harbis is MTM’s director of global business development and will be speaking at the Tanker Shipping & Trade Conference, Awards & Exhibition 2022 in November on the topic of digitalisation and seafarer training. Here, he discusses his career in shipping and the key lessons he has learned along the way.
How did you enter shipping?
I came into the shipping world in 2003 as an engineer, attending vessel drydocks and overseeing the technical department of a mixed freight shipping company. Over the years, I took on more responsibility, covering all aspects of ship management. Being able to dive into the mechanics of such a complicated global industry gives me a unique sense of accomplishment.
Who are your heroes?
My childhood, and for that matter my adult, hero has always been my father. He has shown me that grit and resilience go far beyond any other values, especially in an ever-changing industry like shipping. He was himself a captain and was able to succeed during some difficult times by setting goals and not letting them go easily.
What has been your best moment in shipping so far?
A few years ago, when I was able to put all my teachings and learnings into practice with the establishment of a strategic joint venture in the MR tanker segment.
What has been your worst moment in shipping so far?
The unjustified Russian hostility [in Ukraine] which resulted in one of our MR tankers being stranded in Ukraine. Besides being inhumane, with hostility directed towards a civilian population, I was very disappointed to see there was no realistic support [for Ukrainians] from the stakeholders in the shipping community.
Who have you learned the most from?
My own family; not only in terms of the practical and technical aspects of shipping, but also as regards to succeeding and failing as a team.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Staying home and watching historic or science documentaries, in peace and quiet. But please don’t tell anyone!
Do you have a favourite meal?
Being lucky and living in Greece, it would have to be fresh vegetables and fish, in any shape.
Where is your favourite location?
I am a fanatical admirer of the Greek islands, especially the lesser-known islands such as Patmos and the island complex next to it. You can swim in unimaginably blue waters, while being at the centre of everything at the same time.
What is your one regret in shipping?
Not being able to better control doubts, such as turning down worthwhile opportunities due to a lack of time or some other reason.
What would be your advice to a young person starting out in shipping?
Set goals and stick to your plan, be ambitious and work hard; the results will come.
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