Greek Coastal Shipping: Urgent Funding for New Ships

105 ferries

26 years average age

4.5 billion euro needed

The Hellenic Coastal Shipping needs urgently funding for the renewal of the ageing ferry fleet that within the next decade will be over 40 years old. According to the Hellenic Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy, the Greek ferry fleet consists of 105 vessels with an average age of 26 years, which means that the need for fleet renewal is imperative.

Within a business environment that is constantly changing, ferry companies are struggling to respond but without state aid, especially in the midst of a pandemic, it is extremely difficult.

The cost of the ferry fleet replacement –within the next decade- is estimated at € 4,5 billion and the Ministry of Shipping is planning to raise the necessary funds from European programs. The first € 2 billion should be given directly and concern 37 ships over 30 years old, while the other € 2,5 billion should go for the renewal of 43 ships aged between 20-30 years. There are no estimates for ships under the age of 20. The older ferries that are introduced on Public Services will be replaced first, while the government should take the necessary actions and co-operation with the special EU services.

Within that context, the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping plays a crucial role and is in a very close cooperation with the Hellenic Ministry of Finance. Together, they have prepared the relevant file that will be submitted soon to the EU institutions.

At the same time, the studies carried out by both XRTC and the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping has reached in some very interesting conclusions.
According to the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping:

  • 13 conventional ships are over the age of 40
  • 24 ships (4 high-speed Pax and 20 conventional RoPax) are between 30-40 years old. Their gradual replacement should begin soon and completed by 2030
  • 43 ships of which 25 high-speed (15 RoPax and 10 Pax) and 18 conventional ships are between 20-30 years old. Their replacement should be completed around 2030
  • 25 ships of which 19 and 6 high-speed (4 RoPax, 2 Pax) are under the age of 20. These ships have at least twenty years of life and should be renewed at 2040.

According to XRTC, the Greek ferry fleet appears to be particularly “aging” with the 60% of ferries being over 22 years old and one in four being over 30 years old. Furthermore, since 2011 the listed fleet is constantly shrinking. In the last seven years the fleet has been reduced by more than half, from 89 ships in 2011 to 43 in 2019, despite the fact that the traffic figures are increasing every year.

Spyridon Roussos