Despite the progress recorded in recent years, Greece still has a long way to go before it is transformed into an international transit hub. According to a report by consultants Ernst & Young, the port, highway and rail network infrastructure projects implemented in the last few years (or which are in the planning stage) will significantly improve the country’s prospects of becoming a trade hub in the next decade.
From 2009 to 2014 the growth rates of the logistics sector and third-party logistics providers (3PLPs) fell on average by 4.9% on an annual basis, accumulating a 26% loss of their total value in that period.
In 2015 the value of the local 3PLP market rebounded by 2.15%, after a decline of six years. Last year the trend was reversed again, with a 4.9% decline from 2019 due to the pandemic to 368 million euros.
According to the latest available World Bank logistics performance index for 2018, the Greek market stood in 42nd place among 160 countries. The aim, the EY analysts say, is for Greece to enter the top 30 over the next five years, as the country becomes a transit gateway for the markets of Central and Southeastern Europe.
“We have lost time since 2013, when the first trains left the Cosco station in Piraeus for the Czech Republic, and many countries took initiatives to attract major global players who could invest in Greece. The Adriatic ports, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania have obtained a competitive logistics industry,” said former Trainose chief executive officer Athanasios Ziliaskopoulos, who is currently the chairman of the state’s Logistics Development and Competitiveness Council.
Hellenic Federation of Enterprises Deputy Director General Giorgos Xirogiannis added in the EY report that Next Generation EU resources must be used for the rail network’s modernization and the development of large logistics facilities, while the licensing framework must also be simplified for Greece to upgrade its position as an international transit hub.
The report did point out that there has been progress in the last few years regarding the realization of infrastructure that is necessary to bolster Greece’s position.