Saron Marine: Navigating Environmental Excellence in the Maritime Industry

In the bustling world of maritime services, one company has set sail with a distinct mission – to safeguard the marine environment through precise and reliable testing. The Greek Saron Marine, an ‘odd duck’ at Planet, specializes in providing marine environmental services to the maritime market, with a primary focus on ballast water testing and related environmental assessments.

The brainchild of Pandelis Kiriakis, a seasoned chemical engineer, Saron Marine emerged as a result of a well-thought-out decision. Kiriakis, who had previously worked as a business developer at a marine laboratory, found himself at a crossroads in January 2022. Rather than joining a competitor or leaving the shipping industry, he decided to embark on a new journey by founding Saron Marine.

Setting Sail: The Genesis of Saron Marine
Kiriakis, when asked about the inception of Saron Marine, shared insights into his background and decision-making process. As a chemical engineer with a significant tenure at a marine laboratory, Kiriakis felt the need for a new challenge. He identified a gap in the market, realizing that Saron Marine could bring unique qualities to the table that other companies lacked. In his words, "I saw that there would be a place for a new company in the market. I mean, we bring to the table many things that the other companies do not, and that's why we opened our own company."

Navigating Environmental Services
Saron Marine's primary focus is on marine environmental services, with a specialization in ballast water testing. The company ensures that ballast water treatment systems are not only compliant with regulations but also operate efficiently to prevent environmental pollution. Kiriakis elaborated on the various services offered by Saron Marine, including scrubber water testing, potable water testing, and sewage treatment plant efficiency checks. The company's commitment to testing and analyzing ship discharges extends beyond harbors, with occasional trips at sea to conduct assessments.

The Importance of Testing
One crucial aspect of Saron Marine's services is the testing of ships before entering harbours. While it's not mandatory at the time for ships to undergo testing right before entering a harbor, periodic testing is essential. Kiriakis emphasized the significance of commissioning tests for ballast water treatment systems, ensuring that these systems operate as intended. "If you conclude that the system is not working as it is intended to, they will not receive the Ballast Water Management certificate. They need to fix it, otherwise they won’t be able to trade basically," Kiriakis explained, highlighting the rigorous process that ships must undergo to meet environmental standards before accessing harbors.

Global Operations and Challenges
Saron Marine operates globally, with its own laboratories in Greece, Rotterdam, and Shanghai. The company's commitment to quality and reliability is evident in its approach to testing. While the testing process may incur additional expenses for clients, Saron Marine prioritizes delivering accurate results. Kiriakis acknowledged the challenges of managing a global team and coordinating testing schedules with ship schedules. Despite the complexities, he emphasized the company's success in maintaining a 100% record of completing confirmed jobs. He remarked, "We're losing a lot of money in order to satisfy our need for quality and reliability and this means that basically we could have more profit, but that does not make sense at this point for us."

The Human Element: Training and Expertise
Ensuring consistent quality in testing requires a well-trained team. Saron Marine invests significantly in training its employees, providing them with a deep understanding of both the testing procedures and the maritime environment. Kiriakis stressed the importance of having knowledgeable professionals who understand the intricacies of the job. He highlighted, "We have a very, very good training program. We know very well the part of testing as well which assists us also to be competitive in our costs."

Saron Marine's Key Drivers
When asked about the key drivers behind Saron Marine, Kiriakis pointed to three fundamental factors. First and foremost, he highlighted the team's love for the sea and a genuine desire to preserve the marine environment. Second, the company strives for excellence in its operations, setting a high standard in a challenging industry. Lastly, Kiriakis emphasized the importance of reliability, wanting to assist the maritime community in adhering to environmental standards. Kiriakis stated, "In the basis, it's the love that we have for the sea. I mean it's real, it's embedded in our DNA. It's something that we want to preserve."

Future Horizons: Expanding Focus
Looking ahead, Saron Marine envisions a future beyond shipping. While the company currently focuses 100% on the maritime industry, there are plans to diversify into environmental testing for other sectors. Kiriakis expressed interest in wastewater testing from industries, broadening the company's scope to address a wider range of environmental concerns.