Our Competitive Strengths
We believe that we possess the following competitive strengths:
Experienced Management Team. Our management team has significant experience in all aspects of commercial, technical, operational and financial areas of our business. Aristides J. Pittas, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, has worked in various technical, shipyard and ship management capacities and since 1991 has focused on the ownership and operation of vessels carrying dry cargoes. He holds a dual graduate degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering and Ocean Systems Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Anastasios Aslidis, our Chief Financial Officer, holds a Ph.D. in Ocean Systems Management also from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has 30 years of experience, initially as a partner at a Boston based international consulting firm focusing on investment and risk management in the maritime industry and subsequently for almost 15 years with our group.
Cost Efficient Vessel Operations. We believe that because of the efficiencies afforded to us through Eurobulk and Eurobulk FE, the strength of our management team and the quality of our fleet, we are, and will continue to be, a reliable, low cost vessel operator, without compromising our high standards of performance, reliability and safety. Our total vessel operating expenses, including management fees and general and administrative expenses but excluding drydocking expenses, were $7,885 per day for the first quarter ended March 31, 2020. We believe that our technical and operating expertise allows us to efficiently manage and transport a wide range of cargoes with a flexible trade route profile, which helps reduce ballast time between voyages and minimize off-hire days. Our professional, well-trained masters, officers and on-board crews further help us to control costs and ensure consistent vessel operating performance. We actively manage our fleet and strive to maximize utilization and minimize maintenance expenditures for operational and commercial utilization.
Strong Relationships with Customers and Financial Institutions. Our management team, Eurobulk, Eurobulk FE and the Pittas family have developed strong industry relationships and have gained acceptance with charterers, lenders and insurers because of long-standing reputation for safe and reliable service and financial responsibility through various shipping cycles. Through Eurobulk and Eurobulk FE, we offer reliable service and cargo carrying flexibility that enables us to attract customers and obtain repeat business. We believe that the established customer base and reputation of ourselves, Eurobulk, Eurobulk FE and the Pittas family help us to secure favorable employment for our vessels with well-known charterers.