ECONOMY

Contribution of shipping estimated at 7.3 pct of GDP

The significant contribution of shipping to the country’s economy has been confirmed by a survey of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), presented in Athens on Monday and showing that shipping accounts for 13.5 billion euros on an annual basis – according to data available for 2013 – or equal to 7.3 percent of the gross domestic product.

The direct contribution of shipping companies is estimated to reach 7.6 billion euros by the end of the year, of which 6.5 billion euros concerns ocean-going shipping and 1 billion coastal shipping. Half of the above, i.e. 3.8 billion, concerns salaries, with 2 billion euros spent on a yearly basis on fuel and lubricants for Greek vessels, according to the survey, unveiled in the presence of the ministers for Development, Costis Hatzidakis, and Merchant Marine, Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, as well as the head of the Hellenic Shipowners’ Association Theodoros Veniamis.

Besides the direct impact on the economy, shipping has also had a considerable indirect contribution to the country’s GDP. The group of companies that offer services and products to shipping corporations is estimated to contribute another 2.3 billion euros to the economy. Another 3.4 billion euros comes from the inductive effect of the sector, i.e. the benefits from the added value created in the economy from the consumption by households whose income depends on shipping.

In terms of workforce, BCG speaks of at least 165,000 employees and estimates that the total figure may approach 200,000 on land and on sea, which means that shipping employs 3.5-4.5 percent of all workers in Greece.

In this context, the state can maximize the benefits from the shipping sector by adopting specific actions such as including the industry in the country’s long-term growth strategy, simplifying procedures for starting up a related business, securing a steady and competitive institutional framework, boosting enrollments in maritime schools and upgrading the quality of education.

Varvitsiotis added that shipowners also support the sectors of culture, education and healthcare through personal charity work that often is not made public at all, but that is mentioned by the BCG survey.