ECONOMY

Athens eyes shipping revenues

The new agreement between the Greek government and the country?s creditors provides for the signing of a memorandum of understanding by the former and merchant marine shipowners to secure some 200 million euros in extra state revenues for the period 2013 to 2016 through the payment of cargo tax, Kathimerini understands.

The head of the Hellenic Shipowners Association, Theodoros Veniamis, recently stated that Greek shippers understand the severity of Greece?s fiscal woes and are willing to contribute to the national effort via tax revenues that the country needs.

The current law provides for Greek-flagged ships to be taxed according to their capacity, while companies with ships under foreign flags are not taxed as their profits come from activities outside Greece.

Shipowners have also expressed their intention to strengthen the national register with more ships, provided that the Merchant Marine and Aegean Ministry accelerates the procedures for reducing bureaucracy in registering ships and makes moves to bolster the competitiveness of the Greek flag.

According to an unpublished study by a Greek research institute, between 2000 and 2011, shipping contributed a total of 154 billion euros to Greece in receipts from its services, but about half of that money has been re-exported abroad as the necessary policy framework that would create the conditions for shipping companies to pay in Greece for services rendered in other countries is simply not in place.

The 154 billion euros of foreign currency that shipping has secured is equal to about half of the country?s public debt and is almost four times the total amount of funds that the European Union has allocated to Greece in the funding periods from 2000 to 2006 and from 2007 to 2013 that add up to some 46 billion euros.