ECONOMY

Coastal shippers need more subsidies

Remote Aegean islands are facing a growing risk of being left without a ferry service unless there is an increase in the state subsidy to unpopular routes.

Many companies are warning that the existing level of subsidies does not even cover their operation costs, ?to say nothing of profits,? as they suggest in statements.

The significant increase of fuel prices is forcing most of them to reconsider their participation in tenders for the routes this fall, ahead of the 2011-2012 season. They are also contemplating merging routes or using older ferries in an attempt to save on costs, while utilizing their modern fleet only on popular and profit-making routes instead.

Last year state subsidies for unpopular routes amounted to 92 million euros, while this year the coastal shippers are asking for the amount to rise to 110 million euros.