Ferry operators face a number of challenges
Greek coastal shipping companies face the threat of turning loss-making again due to fuel price increases and overtaxation.
The last financial year (2017) was seen as marginally profit-making in net terms for the biggest companies in the sector – but not all of them – as transport costs appear to have increased by 44 million euros.
At the same time ferry companies are unable to make the most of the increased flow of visitors from abroad as the majority of tourists prefer traveling by air within Greece given that air carriers now offer very competitive ticket prices. International visitors who do use ferries to travel to island destinations simply offset the steadily decreasing number of domestic passengers.
Furthermore, the high rate of value-added tax does not allow for the more attractive pricing of ferry tickets, with the margin for price cuts exhausted by seasonal offers.
The bailout program cuts have also forced the state to reduce the money paid out for subsidized routes from 120 million a few years ago to 85 million today, so it is no longer able to support coastal shipping companies to the same extent through those public services.