BUSINESS

Ferry operators to enjoy state assistance

ILIAS BELLOS

TAGS: Shipping, Coronavirus

The ministries of Shipping and Finance are negotiating with the European Commission for the inclusion of coastal shipping enterprises in the economic support program so as to safeguard the sustainability of corporations that are expected to suffer a 290-million-euro blow.

Furthermore, on the initiative of Shipping Minister Yiannis Plakiotakis, the activity code numbers (KAD) of corporations that transport passengers and cargoes by sea have been included in the Finance Ministry’s list of firms supported by the state. This will allow the employees of any of those companies to have their labor contracts suspended, to receive the 800-euro per month handout and to be relieved of tax and social security obligations until the end of the measures’ application.

To assist the sustainability of coastal shipping services, the Shipping Ministry has also decided to extend the winter season – which provides for limited services and reduced crew numbers – beyond April 1, when the summer season normally begins.

Among the measures the Shipping Ministry is also the reduction of port charges. The reduction will come to 15 percent at first, and if the crisis is extended this could reach up to 50 percent. For Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) especially, the ministry has decided to extend the winter charges on ships, which are about half those for the summer.

The market is still waiting to find out the amount of financial support each ferry will receive when consultations with the European Union are concluded. It is estimated that very large ferries will get a minimum of 40,000 euros per day, while the others should get about 30,000 euros a day.

The ministry is also proceeding with the determination of minimum services that will have to be carried out today, following cooperation between the ferry companies and the competent agency of the ministry.

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