Greece’s shipping industry boasts a young and large fleet with massive new infrastructure on the way
Throughout the Greek financial crisis, the reputation of the nation’s shipping industry remained virtually unaffected. As a stalwart industry with large historic significance, shipping and maritime companies have traditionally benefited from strong government support because of their integral contribution to the economy.
“Maritime, coastal and island economies represent over 25% of national GDP,” notes Ioannis Plakiotakis, Minister of Maritime and Insular Policy. Understanding the economic impact of the industry, the new Greek government has prioritized massive shipping infrastructure projects.
“A huge investment of €611.8 million planned by the Piraeus Port Authority will upgrade the port facilities, create thousands of new jobs and contribute to growth,” announces Plakiotakis. “This project is now finally in the process of being implemented after overcoming significant obstacles, and it opens a new page in the excellent relations between Greece and China,” which owns 67% of Piraeus Port Authority shares through the COSCO Group (China Ocean Shipping Company).
Although vast in size and impact, this project is not the only upgrade the Greek shipping industry has undergone in recent years. “In 2000, vessels used to be on average 20 to 25 years old and quality was not always the priority,” recalls Ioannis Chiotopoulos, Regional Manager for Southeast Europe, Middle East & Africa at DNV GL-Maritime, a leading classification society and advisor in the global shipping industry. “Today, Greek companies now have the youngest fleet in the world as well as the biggest one, and it is continuously growing.”
“At the same time the number of companies is shrinking: in 2002 there were roughly 1,000 companies, and now there are around 550, yet the gross tonnage and number of vessels are increasing,” Chiotopoulos observes.
of national GDP comes from maritime, coastal and island activities
value of Piraeus Port Authority upgrades
shares of Piraeus Port Authority owned by China
number of Greece-based shipping companies