The challenges for Greek coastal shipping are growing, as besides the recession in the domestic passenger market and the rise in fuel prices, the new environmental regulations to apply from 2020 require new ship orders. The age profile of the passenger fleet is approaching the point that would call for its renewal in the next decade, warns the president of the Association of Passenger Shipping Companies (SEEN), Michalis Sakellis.
Local shipyards are expected to rise to the challenge: “Our shipbuilding industry will have to be ready. The right conditions must also be created for Greek shipyards to cover the needs that emerge,” notes Sakellis, adding that “in the most recent period of the Greek coastal shipping fleet’s renewal, from 1995 to 2015, our shipbuilding industry was absent.”
According to SEEN figures, it is estimated that in those two decades Greek coastal shippers had 46 ferries built of a combined value that topped 4 billion euros.
“Out of those ships just two were built in Greece, and that was on orders placed before 2000. It would be a shame [for the local industry] to miss this second chance,” Sakellis stresses.