ECONOMY

Ferry firms suffer from drop in traffic, fuel rate rise

The recession is continuing to have a negative impact on coastal shipping in Greece as passenger and vehicle traffic is set to face another dip this year, according to a survey conducted by Hellastat.

The trend that became evident in 2010, which saw more Greeks reducing spending on vacations and travel in general, continued in 2012. There was a 7.8 percent yearly decline in the number of passengers traveling through Greek ports in the second half of last year, while vehicles traffic went down by 7.4 percent.

In contrast, total cargo shipments rose 21.5 percent in the first quarter of 2012 compared with the same period a year earlier.

Hellastat argues that constantly rising fuel prices effectively wipe out any gains the ferry companies manage to make from ticket sales and servicing subsidized routes. In the first half of 2012 the average international fuel price had risen 28 percent from the year before.

Official data compiled by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) show that in 2011 the country’s coastal shipping companies carried 38.36 million passengers on domestic routes, down 6.85 million from 2010.