The international 0.5 percent sulfur cap on marine fuel, applying as of January 1, has already raised the cost of shipping transport by about 7 percent. This is expected to affect the competitiveness of product exports from islands such as Crete, while also leading to a hike in the price of goods shipped to all the Greek islands.
The price of cleaner fuel is almost twice that of the fuel previously used, when the sulfur cap was 3.5 percent, so coastal shipping companies that were already struggling due to the hikes in global oil prices over recent years are now unable to absorb any more than a small part of this additional cost, as they had already been operating on the limit between profits and losses.
Coastal shipping companies are now starting to incorporate this hike into ticket prices for passengers and vehicles. The higher prices may not yet have become obvious due to it being the winter season and the short period since their introduction, but they have started applying on routes in the Aegean, the Ionian and to and from Crete. Kathimerini understands that any ferry companies that have not raised their fares yet will do so in the next few days. The only routes to escape hikes will be the state-subsidized ones, as the Shipping Ministry has raised the subsidies from 90 to 130 million euros for 2020.