Passenger shipping sinks in Greece
The downturn in the Greek coastal shipping sector has continued over the last few years, according to a study by ICAP researchers. The report issued this week has found that passenger shipping has shrunk by about 32 percent in the last seven years. In the period from 2008 to 2015 local ferry companies recorded a loss of 7.8 million passengers and 2.9 million vehicles (cars, trucks, motorcycles etc).
Passenger shipping in Greece is dominated by major enterprises of high capitalization that belong to strong business groups. There are also several smaller market players. Shipping Ministry data show that Greek coastal shipping’s entire active fleet numbers 230 vessels of various types and capacities.
Stamatina Pantelaiou, head of ICAP’s Economic Research & Sectorial Studies Department, noted that the local ferry market posted a slight increase of 1 percent in 2015 compared to the previous year, while domestic lines (including hydrofoils, sea taxis etc) grew about 2 percent. In contrast, ferry lines linking Greece with Italy posted a 5 percent decline in the same period. Domestic lines account for 59.4 percent of the market, Adriatic lines for 27.7 percent and 12.9 percent belongs to small ferries.
According to ICAP reducing fuel costs, increasing state subsidies and expanding to markets abroad constitute opportunities for the sector.
However, there also are threats from the continuing recession, the lack of liquidity and the growth of air cargo.