Shipping Places Greece in Center of Global Economy Changes

Time: 2016-06-08 13:36
Investments for the improvement of the existing infrastructure are essential and would provide Greece with yet another competitive advantage in the country’s road to recovery, Prime Minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras, said while inaugurating the Posidonia 2016 maritime exhibition, taking place from June 6 to 10 at the Athens Metropolitan Expo.

The Greek ocean going shipping, which contributes seven percent to Greece’s gross national product, has helped position the country at the epicenter of the changes and developments that the global economy is undergoing.

Tsipras further said that Greece’s strategic geopolitical position, coupled with the location of the country’s big ports, is a combination which guarantees the prospects of establishing the country as the commercial gateway to Europe for many products and services.

The shipping sector has faced great challenges over the past years, which are related to “the excess tonnage, combined with short term reduction in the demand side for transported cargo volumes, lack of funding from bank institutions, sharp decline in vessel values, uncertainty in oil prices and acute competition,”  the Greek Minister of Shipping and Island Policy, Theodore Dritsas, said.

He further said that these factors led to a substantial downward pressure on freight rates, in particular in dry market segment.

“The gradual recovery of the world economy will certainly lead to the reduction and hopefully the elimination of those phenomena,” Dritsas added.

Despite the difficulties in both the national and global economic environment, Greek shipping managed to maintain its leading position at international level.

More than 1,350 shipping companies are established in Greece, mainly in Piraeus, constituting the driving force for a number of related economic activities, according to Dritsas.
“Greek shipping remains a vital and successful economic generator of the national economy, contributing over 7% to the national GDP, providing almost 200,000 jobs both at sea and ashore, covering also over 30% of the country’s trade deficit.”

“The Greek shipowners, and the Greek state, as representatives of a traditional maritime country, currently amounting approximately to 50% of European shipping and 20% of the world fleet in terms of tonnage, have been strong supporters of the institutional role of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as the only appropriate legislative body for shipping,” Theodore Veniamis, President of the Union of Greek Shipowners, said.

This year’s exhibition exceeds 40,000 sqm, and includes over 40 conferences, seminars and workshops, scheduled to take place at the Athens Metropolitan Expo over the next four days, till the curtains come down on Friday, June 10.
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