Cabotage to be lifted

Restrictions on cruise ships not bearing a European Union flag are to be lifted when the Development and Merchant Marine Ministry tables a draft law in Parliament next week.

Existing regulations force non-EU companies to sign a contract with the state and to stay in each port for a set minimum amount of time.

The bill will allow the major international cruise companies to perform circular trips in Greece, both starting and ending at the country?s ports, which is expected to boost Greek finances by about 1 billion euros per year.

?This is an important development,? shipping sources suggested, ?but is so late in coming that its benefits will not become evident before 2013, given that 2012 schedules have already been completed.?

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