Emanuele Grimaldi: Crisis as an opportunity for growth and change
Greece has been a success story in promptly reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic. Public health has been properly protected, limiting infections and death casualties.
Now measures to assist the economy are needed as the country’s big challenge is to soften the effects of the lockdown in order to speed up the economic recovery. The Greek Government has already taken courageous measures to stimulate the economy by fighting the shutdown of companies which would otherwise skyrocket unemployment.
Greece has a great potential in various sectors such as agriculture, ports, logistics and tourism. The country is one of the world shipping leaders thanks to a long tradition, experienced owners, skilled seafarers and a friendly fiscal environment. The competitiveness of Greek shipping needs to be protected and further enhanced, being the sector one of the backbones of the country’s economy.
Particular attention ought to be paid to the ferry sector, whose role is vital to secure all-year round regular services between the mainland, the islands and neighbouring countries, and which has been heavily affected by the pandemia effects. Further fiscal and subsidy measures, a review of the composition of crews and a reduction of port expenses among others, should be immediately introduced, while avoiding any distortion of competition.
In the ports and logistics sector, thanks to its strategic position, the country has an opportunity to strengthen its role as the main gateway between Western Europe and the Balkans. This can only be achieved through modern port facilities and state-of-the-art logistics centres, all properly connected by road and rail to the hinterland.
The ports privatisation process carried out by the Government should be accelerated, with fast and transparent international tenders, while reducing the red tape for those companies wishing to invest in the country’s infrastructure.
On the demand side, new fiscal measures should be introduced in order to stimulate the current depressed consumption. Particularly, the ageing passenger car fleet circulating in the country and one of the main sources of pollution in the country’s urban areas, should be rapidly replaced. The recently announced plan by the Government to promote the massive use EVs in the country is a good sign.
The Grimaldi Group, through its Grimaldi Lines and Minoan Lines brands, is committed to Greece, a country in which it has been present for the last 50 years transporting vehicles and passengers. Over € 500 million have been invested in the country sofar and new investments are in the pipeline. In this respect our Group has expressed its interest for some of the Greek ports which are due to be privatised in the near future. Our aim is to transform them in real multimodal logistics platforms in the benefit of passenger and freight traffic flows to and from the Greek peninsula.
The post COVID-19 phase should be seen as a great opportunity for Greece to proceed to the necessary reforms in order to modernise its economy, enhance its competitiveness and generate wealth for its citizens.
THE COMPANY AT A GLANCE
The Naples-headquartered Grimaldi Group is a multinational logistics operator specialised in the transport of vehicles, containers and passengers. It has a fleet of about 140 ro/ro vessels, car carriers and ferries, serving four continents, and an extensive network of port terminals.