Shipowners eye Piraeus

Many Greek shipowners are expressing their desire to leave London and return to Piraeus if a new tax bill depriving them of privileges is passed by the British Parliament, as the British press has reported. At the annual meeting between the Association of Greek Shipowners and the Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee of London, held in the British capital yesterday in the presence of Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis, the issue was discussed in detail, with the minister stressing that more measures will be taken to attract more shipowners to the Greek register. «Each government makes its own calculations and, of course, we cannot suggest a tax policy to another country. What Greece and its government are interested in is having our doors open to the trends of the times,» said Voulgarakis who added that: «We want Piraeus to emerge as a global shipping center and I have explained to Greek shipowners that we are determined to take the essential measures that will attract more shipowners to Piraeus, where already 1,200 shipping companies are based.» «We are not just interested in Greek shipowners in Greece; we also care for anyone else who wishes to become active in Piraeus, so that our country can make the most of the significant position it has as the top shipping power in the world,» the minister said. The meeting touched on a variety of Greek and international shipping issues, including the country’s register, collective contracts, naval education, the attraction of young people to maritime professions, developments in the insurance sector and the participation of Greece in European Union bodies and other international organizations. The president of the committee, Epaminondas Embirikos, said: «This was a very successful meeting because we have had the opportunity to exchange views with the minister, too, and he had the chance to listen to the discussions we have had on various subjects with the Association of Greek Shipowners, so he obtained a good knowledge of the issues that concern us.» He added that «this was the first time ever that the Greek merchant marine minister has been at our joint meeting, which demonstrates that this minister cares for Greek shipping, has a deep understanding of the issues and this is very important and satisfactory.» Voulgarakis insisted that «with the policy we are following, we are interested in assisting their efforts, which contributes $2 million per hour to our country – such is the benefit to the Greek economy of the presence of Greek shipping.»

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