BUSINESS

Cruise companies call for port improvement

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Shipping, Tourism

The state of infrastructure at Greek ports is a major concern for cruise companies, it emerged from the 5th Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum that concluded on Wednesday in Athens.

Global cruise operators are demanding improvements at the country’s ports in order to accommodate growing demand, better-quality services and the larger cruise liners that are on order, as well as the new environmental regulations of the International Maritime Organization.

“Greece needs to invest in its ports, they are your country’s assets, please invest in them,” pleaded Michel Nestour of Carnival Corporation, one the world’s leading cruise companies.

Maritime Affairs Minister Fotis Kouvelis claimed that “this year we have trebled the resources invested from the Public Investments Program in the restoration of damage and the improvement of safety at dozens of ports in the country.”

However, the IMO requirement for low-sulfur or alternative fuel for all vessels means more investment is required, with rules coming into force next January. “There has been no investment in Piraeus in liquefied natural gas facilities, as that was not possible,” said Theodora Riga, strategic planning and marketing manager at the recently privatized Piraeus Port Authority.

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