Throughout his school years, Anthony was closely observing the activity of his father’s business. Based in Piraeus, Emmanuel Comninos in partnership with his brother Anthony, had been successfully operating, since the interwar period, sailing and motor vessels that were trading between Syros, Paros, Naxos, Amorgos, Rhodes and other Aegean islands. Spending most of his summer holidays at the family business’ headquarters on Gounari Street, young Anthony witnessed the post-war development of Piraeus and its transformation into an important international maritime hub.
However, the introduction of ferry services just before the mid-1960s led to the rapid decline of traditional cargo coastal services. Thus, upon completion of his high school studies in 1964, Anthony Comninos decided to focus on ocean-going shipping, which had already attracted the interest of his older brother Costas. He initially completed his military duties, serving for three years as a reserve ensign at the Hellenic Coast Guard, something that offered him experience on the operation of a body closely linked to Greek merchant shipping. He then moved to London attending a two-year course at the City of London College, in order to further his shipping management skills, while working part-time in various shipping offices.
Returning to Greece in 1971, Anthony joined his brother’s shipping company, which had been established in 1968. Over the next few years, the company grew significantly, operating several types of ships, mainly tankers, bulk carriers and reefers.
Towards the end of 1986, Anthony E. Comninos decided to pursue an independent career, founding the Target Group, which originally owned and operated reefer vessels. With this type of ships, the newly-established company achieved significant progress, before expanding its fleet with other ship types, namely bulk carriers and containerships, which were starting to replace classic refrigerated cargo ships.
The cornerstone that led to the group’s rapid growth, took place in 2000 with a newbuilding order at Samho Heavy Industries in South Korea, for the construction of four 75,000-dwt bulk carriers at a very competitive price. Over the next 15 years –with shipping experiencing its best freight market in the post-war era– the Target Group managed not only to strengthen its presence in the dry cargo sector by ordering six more bulk carriers, but also successfully entered the tanker market by forming a new management company in 2007, Horizon Tankers.
Besides his activity in world seaborne trade, the founder of the Target Group –which has managed since 1986 about 100 vessels of various types– has demonstrated a keen interest in art and culture, as well as public benefit work, through the Anthony E. Comninos Foundation.