Ferries report 40% fall in August


Coastal shipping experienced a smaller reduction in passenger traffic last month compared to air transport, although it was still significant, according to estimates by the Association of Passenger Shipping Companies (SEEN).

August saw ferry passenger traffic drop 40% from a year earlier, while for the entire period since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, from March to August, the annual reduction amounted to 60%, SEEN projects.

Traffic is also expected to drop by 60% in September, as Greeks, who this year form the bulk of the sector’s traffic, stopped traveling to the islands after mid-August when the second wave of the pandemic broke out, ferry operators say.

SEEN estimates that the sector’s revenue losses for 2020 will reach up to 300 million euros. In this context, Shipping Minister Yiannis Plakiotakis on Wednesday announced a new increase in the state support for subsidized routes serving remote and less popular destinations.

As a way of helping the ferry sector survive the tempest, the state will increase its subsidy to €138 million this year, from €90 million in 2019.