Creta Cargo Lines’ ro-ro Orion joined the Hellenic Coastal Shipping

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On 20 February Creta Cargo Lines’ ro-ro ORION (the former ORCADIA and SATURN) made her debut on the Lavrion – Naxos line.

The handy size vessel is expected to support the other vessels of the Cretan Company’s fleet (TALOS and IOSIF K.) on domestic ferry services.  The company mainly transports trucks and dangerous freight to the smaller and difficult ports of Cyclades Islands.

Photo: Kostas Papadopoulos

Golden Star Ferries’ ropax ANDROS QUEEN will be introduced April 2023

By | 2022 Newsletter week 47 | No Comments

According to Golden Star Ferries, their latest acquisition ANDROS QUEEN will join the Hellenic Coastal Shipping in April 2023.

The ship was purchased from Japan on March 2022 and is currently undergoing a large-scale conversion into a luxury day ferry at the Perama repair zone.

When ready, ANDROS QUEEN will have a capacity for 1,400 passengers (106 beds) and 380 cars or 70 trucks. Speed 21.5 knots.

The ship will fly the Greek flag in January 2023. She will be introduced on the evening sailings on Rafina-Andros-Tinos-Mykonos, in April.

Photo: Golden Star Ferries

Grimaldi (2): about the Hellenic Coastal Shipping and ports

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Attica-Anek Lines agreement

“Wait and see” said CEO Emanuele Grimaldi. He does not consider the agreement finished since the decision of the Competition Commission is pending.

Buying Attica?

To the question about whether he would be interested in buying Attica Group, sometime in the future, he said that “We have not heard of Attica being sold.  In any case, for there to be a buyer, there must also be someone to sell.”

However, in such a hypothetical deal, he hinted that there would be an issue with the Competition Commission and the anti-trust law.

Greek ports

About the ports of Igoumenitsa and Heraklion that Grimaldi Group is interested in, he mentioned: “Many people think we play aggressively. But the reality is that we play defence. Because in both ports, Grimaldi Group is the big customer. Some 60% of the port of Igoumenitsa’s revenue comes from us.

So, what we are trying to do by participating in both tenders for the ports of Igoumenitsa and Heraklion, is to protect our investments.

Unlike to other financial investors, the Grimaldi Group does not seek profit nor does it intend to increase fares. I am the biggest user of these ports and want to see them grow and improve their services.”

Especially in Igoumenitsa his plans include the development of trade roads around the axis of Egnatia motorway, while at the port of Heraklion he underlined that Minoan Lines has significant presence.

XRTC report 2022 for the Hellenic Coastal Shipping (summary)

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Optimistic is the outcome for the Hellenic Coastal Shipping according to the recent XRTC 21st annual ferry report 2022 which was published under the title: “Hellenic Coastal Shipping 2022: In a new Cycle of Development and Opportunities”.

The main points of the report are the following:

  • The Hellenic Coastal Shipping today faces a series of problems and challenges that have not been seen in recent decades (effects of the pandemic, catastrophic drop in transport demand in 2020 and 2021, extremely high fuel costs, difficulty of new investment schemes and financial organizations to enter the market).
  • The biggest weakness of the ferry market in the last 14 years, especially since the start of the Greek debt crisis, is the lack of business models that will bring new capital to a market that has to be profitable to justify new investments.
  • A positive mark in the market, is the introduction of the three newbuilding Aero high-speed crafts of the Attica Group (HSW), which may also can be seen as a signal of the start of a fleet renewal.
  • For the summer season 2022, 100 ferries are active and serve daily 115 islands
  • In total, the three largest ferry companies in Greece operate 43 ships and carry 5,776,000 passengers, 1,215,000 cars and 585,000 trucks.
  • Attica Group operates 30 ships, transports 4.4 million passengers, 870,000 cars and 370,000 trucks.
  • Minoan Lines operates 4 ships and transports 724,000 passengers, 162,000 cars and 82,000 trucks.
  • ANEK LINES operates 9 ships and transports 652,000 passengers, 183,000 cars and 133,000 trucks.
  • The medium size ferry operators are three. SEAJETS (20 high-speed crafts – 4 conventional ferries), FAST FERRIES (3 conventional ferries plus 1 high-speed craft) and LEVANTE FERRIES (4 conventional ferries plus 2 under conversion).
  • The small ferry operators are 22 and operate in total 21 ships.
  • The total debt obligations of the two larger ferry groups of the Hellenic Coastal Shipping (Attica Group and ANEK LINES) are increased by 9% (EUR 742 million in 2021 from EUR 683 million in 2020). The third major player, Minoan Lines (Grimaldi Group), has zero bank borrowing after paying off its bond in full.
  • The major challenge for the Hellenic Coastal Shipping is the fleet age. The Hellenic Coastal fleet operates 43 ships with an average age the 23 years, which steadily rises
  • Around 70% of the fleet is over 20 years old, which means that the needs of fleet renewal are imperative for all sizes of ships.
  • Passenger and vehicle traffic in 2021 was increased by 47% and 37% respectively compared to 2020.
  • Despite the large increase in the traffic in the years 2021 and 2022 compared to the disastrous 2020, the financial results of the companies were not and will not be satisfactory mainly due to the excessively increased fuel costs
  • The negative financial results of the sector question the viability of several ferry companies, but also create a negative environment for mergers and acquisitions without significant losses for shareholders and investors
  • The analysis of all the signs of the market, including the Strengths and Weaknesses but also the Opportunities and Threats, certify that the Greek Coastal Shipping is now at the beginning of a new cycle of development and opportunities within a transparent environment and with respect to the institutions and the international financial rules.

XRTC report 2022 for the Hellenic Coastal Shipping (ANEK)

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About ANEK LINES, the report says the following (p.28):

“ANEK LINES has been forced to reclassify its long-term liabilities into short-term liabilities as of 31.12.2018, since it failed to service its loan and based on the relevant contracts, the non-service of the loan obligations constitutes non-compliance with the terms, which entails the obligation of the company for full repayment of the loans.

As a result, short-term bank liabilities on 31.12.2021 amounted to 260.1 million euros compared to 252.9 million euros on 31.12.2020 and are increased by the outstanding interest of the financial year 2021.

In case of completion of the agreement between Piraeus and Alpha Bank and the creditors of ANEK on the extent of the impairment of its loan obligations, ANEK will be saved.

The plan includes the purchase of Alpha Bank’s loans to ANEK by Piraeus, which will then, together with other creditors, refinance the remaining impaired loans and transfer them to the newly enlarged Attica. The agreement under discussion provides for a significant reduction in bank lending, up to 150 million euros, and ensuring that suppliers are paid in full.”

Hellenic Chamber of Shipping’s proposals for the new era of the Hellenic Coastal Shipping

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According to the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping, Hellenic Coastal Shipping is currently facing many and serious challenges. The most significant ones are the energy crisis (high fuel cost, increased fares) as well as the transition to “green shipping”, which requires the renewal of the coastal fleet at an estimated cost of EUR 11 billion. In that direction, the Chairman of the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping, Dr Georgios Pateras, submitted nine proposals:

  1. Further reduction of VAT below 13% at ferry tickets, so that they become more attractive to passengers. Cheaper ferry ticket means increased public revenue from VAT on the islands (increased passengers), exceeding the revenue from VAT on fares.
  2. Acceleration of procedures for the completion of the long-awaited extension of the suburban railway to the ports of Lavrio and Rafina. The specific infrastructure will offer faster sea travel by 2-4 hours as well as equal amount of fuel saving.
  3. Consistent adherence of the States’ obligations for the timely payment of the leases for the public interest lines as well as the transport equivalent. There is also necessity for the re-adjustment of the subsides for the subsidized lines in order to cover the additional fuel cost.
  4. Use of alternative fuel (LNG) in ships whose engines can be converted to dual fuel provided the operation of a network supplying this type of fuel to the ships. LNG is considered a transition fuel but not considered “blue or green”.
  5. Utilization of the ETS (Emission Trading Scheme) funds for the decarbonization of coastal shipping.
  6. Long-term public service contracts for the newbuilding ferries.
  7. Increasing competition in the supply of port services.
  8. Access to financial resources (grants) of the Recovery and Resilience Fund (Development Law) for installation of Energy Saving Devices in the existing fleet and financing of the “green part” of newbuilding ships.
  9. Reimbursement of the mandatory discounts

Hellenic Coastal Shipping serves 140 ports in 116 islands with 180 ferry connections. It contributes 7,4% to the total GDP (EUR 13,6 billion), while the sector’s total contribution to employment is 332.000 jobs (8,5% of total employment) and to public revenues EUR 3 billion (data refer to 2019).

DFDS: Freight Volumes Continued Growing In July

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Ferry – freight:

  • Total volumes in July 2021 were 3.3% above 2020.
  • The volumes transported in July 2021 by the North Sea, Baltic Sea and Mediterranean business units were well above July 2020 supported by investments in new and more efficient capacity. Volumes for these business units were also above 2019.
  • Channel volumes were below 2020, adjusted for the Dunkirk-Rosslare route opened at the beginning of 2021. This follows an overall market decrease and reintroduction of capacity that was taken out of the market by a ferry operator in 2020 (=P&O).

Ferry – passenger:

  • The total number of passengers in July 2021 was 50.7% below 2020 reflecting the continued tight travel restrictions as well as a temporary easing of restrictions in July 2020.
  • Baltic Sea’s passenger volumes continued to be above 2020.

XRTC 20th report about the Hellenic Coastal Shipping

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According to the XRTC report, the Hellenic Coastal Shipping requires responsibility, analysis and forecasting of the future conditions as well as decision making that will allow ferry companies to be viable.

Some of the reports’ main findings are the following:

  • The pandemic allowed the ferry sector’s chronic economic problems to emerge, as they have been overshadowed by the steady increasing demand in the past four years 2016-2019.
  • The Association of Hellenic Passenger Shipping Companies (SEEN) estimated that passenger traffic in the first half of 2021 will be lower compared to 2020, both on the domestic and Greece-Italy lines.
  • In 2021, fuel prices dramatically increased affecting negatively the ferry operators’ financial results. It is estimated that at the end of 2021, the average fuel price will have increased by 60% -70% compared to 2020.
  • In 2030, 32.7% of the Hellenic ferry fleet will be older than 40 years, which means that in the next 10 years 50% of the existing ferry fleet will have to be replaced.
  • The maintenance costs for ferries over 35 years old are prohibited, while smaller ferries suitable for the Hellenic Coastal Lines are not available for sale in the International Market.
  • The cost of building new ships will be high, mainly due to the new EU environmental standards.
  • The renewal and upgrade of the Greek Ferry Fleet requires 2.6 to 3 billion euros over the next decade. Also, the upgrade of the existing newer ferries needs an additional cost of 100 million euros.
  • The current decade, until 2030, is a crucial period for the ferry companies in order to comply with the new business environment. New financial tools will be provided by the EU, in the context of its policy regarding the environment and sustainable development. Also, new ESG standards will impose in the near future a new management model for the ferry companies.

About the ferry operators the report underlines the following:


  • is the largest Greek Ferry Operator, the third largest ferry brand in the Mediterranean and among the ten largest in Europe.
  • It owns 30 ships (average age 20 years) -plus a chartered one (bare boat)- and operates in Greece (Cyclades, Dodecanese, Crete, North-Eastern Aegean, Saronic and Sporades) as well as on the international Greece – Italy lines (Ancona-Bari).
  • Piraeus Bank holds 11.8% of Attica Group shares and 31% of Marfin Investment Group (MIG) shares, which controls Attica.
  • The Group’s traffic figures has been reduced in the last two years but is still resilient, investing its capitals for newbuildings.

ANEK Lines

  • presents a negative net position
  • the company will probably face a financial dead-end, or Piraeus Bank and its shareholders will be forced to sell ships in order to protect the company from the bank loans they have granted to the company in the past. The case of selling the company is also possible.
  • It owns 7 ships plus 2 ships under long-term charter (average age 30 years). They operate mainly on the Adriatic Sea (Ancona, Venice), Crete (Chania, Heraklion), Dodecanese and Cyclades.
  • Piraeus Bank holds 28.12% of Anek Line shares, while VARMIN SA (Amalia-Anastasia Vardinogianni) is its second largest shareholder.

Minoan Lines

  • has zero bank lending and access to the Grimaldi group.
  • is not unaffected by the pandemic, recording losses in 2020.
  • it owns 4 ships (average age 18.3 years) and serves on the Piraeus-Crete lines (Heraklion and Chania) as well as on the seasonal Heraklion – Cyclades line.

Other Ferry Operators

  • Seajets (Marios Iliopoulos Interests) evolved into the largest private Greek shipping company.
  • It owns 17 ships (15 high-speed crafts plus 2 ferries), without counting its recent 2021 purchases.
  • Its ships serve North Aegean, Kythira, Antikythira, Gythio, Kissamos, Thessaloniki – Sporades – Evia – Sitia (Crete)- Dodecanese and Rethymnon (Crete) – Santorini lines.
  • Alpha Lines (Antonis and Vassilis Agapitos interests) founded in 2020 and serve on the Piraeus-Saronic Gulf Islands line (Poros, Hydra, Spetses) with Speed ​​Cat I.

Spyridon Roussos

Some Interesting Points about the Hellenic Coastal Shipping

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  • Greek Ferry Companies are expected to record losses of over 200 million euros in the period 2020-2021, due to the covid-19 crisis, although in 2021 it is estimated that there will be an increase in passenger traffic by 20% to 30% compared to 2020.
  • The first half of 2021 closed with a reduction in passenger traffic by 5% to10%, while July ends with an increase in the number of travellers by 50% compared to July 2020.
  • Passenger traffic has increased compared to last year, while, since July 1, demand has further strengthened, with an increase of 55% to 60% compared to the same period of 2020.
  • Passenger traffic will be subdued in September – October, as the largest part of the demand comes from tourists travelling in groups, which does not show much momentum for the time being.
  • Ferry operators estimate that passenger traffic will return to 2019 levels in 2022 if the pandemic will be stopped and there will be no more restrictive measures. Otherwise, the return of passenger traffic to pre-pandemic levels is postponed until 2024.
  • The 80% – 85% of the passengers are mainly Greeks
  • The expected improvement in passenger traffic this summer will probably not cover the increased fuel costs and the ferry companies are expected to record losses of about 100 million euros.
  • Last year, ferry companies reported losses of 140 million euros, while the State’s financial support was only 30 million euros.

Hellenic Coastal Shipping Struggling with its Role despite its Considerable Contribution

By | 2021 Newsletter week 3 | No Comments

The degradation of the role and the contribution of the coastal shipping to the country’s development – by the state – was highlighted by the Hellenic Passenger Shipping Business Association (SEEN), which also submitted specific proposals.

Read the full story on our website