According to the recent XRTC Business Consultants report, the Hellenic Coastal Shipping is entering a new era due to the pandemic.
The passenger traffic reduction by 50% will probably cause possible movements within the sector as well as allow new entries.
The most important points of the report are the following:
- The passenger traffic of 2020 will be reduced by 49% compared to 2019 (about 8,88 million passengers compared to 18,2 million last year). The first five months of 2020 were disappointing for the ferry companies, as there was a drop of 60% in the transport traffic. As a result, only a few ships are currently operating –due to the pandemic- in order to cover the needs of this years’ high season, while many other ships remain moored including the majority of the high-speed crafts.
- The winter of 2020-2021 will be particularly difficult for the sector, as the revenues from both the first semester and the summer season 2020 is not enough to cover sufficiently the operators’ financial and operational needs. So, the only way to stay afloat is to take a direct state or European subsidy.
- The Greek ferry market should immediately take action on two levels: The first level is related to its survival while the second to its long-term maintenance and sustainability through European funds. At both levels, state aid is necessary.
- This year’s financial results are not expected to be positive for the ferry operators, apart from a small number of companies that serve exclusively public interest lines. It is therefore important that both investors and financiers deal with the situation prudently in order to avoid an imminent immediate collapse of the companies.
- Today, the large ferry operators (Attica Group, Minoan Lines and ANEK Lines) control about half of Greece’s transport traffic. The other half is controlled by comparatively new companies (leading Seajets), who have managed to control – with their fleet (65 conventional and high-speed crafts) – significant shares mainly in the Aegean markets and inter-island travel.