Interview of Mr Spyridon Paschalis, Chairman of the Hellenic Association of Passenger Shipping Companies
The Chairman of the Association of Passenger Shipping Companies in Greece, Mr Spyridon Paschalis gave an interview on October 27 to the traditional financial Greek newspaper NAFTEMPORIKI. The highlights of that interview are:
- The Hellenic Ministry of Shipping subsidizes every year the country’s barren lines with EUR 130 million. However, the debts of the Ministry to the coastal shipping companies which after securing tenders serve “barren” lines in return for subsidies exceeding EUR 80 million.
- A significant part of these compensations (over EUR 48 million) is owed to Attica Group, the country’s largest ferry operator.
- Delays in the payment of compensation seem to have also affect negatively the last tender held on October 20 by the Ministry’s Coastal Transport Council, as the Greek ferry operators were reluctant to bid for the next season’s barren lines.
- Greek ferry operators were forced to increase the price of ferry tickets, the summer 2022, since the state could not find a viable solution to equalize the operating costs from the rise in the international price of fuel. Otherwise, the companies would have to go bankrupt.
- Mr Paschalis underlined the need for the Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy to proceed with the formation of a committee made up of representatives from the classification society, ferry operators as well as those in charge of the Ministry for European programs, to form a specific plan for the next day and how ferry operators will proceed to the construction of more friendly to the environment newbuilding vessels. He also highlighted the need for the formation of a national strategic plan over the course of a decade for this purpose.
- Hellenic Association of Passenger Shipping Companies is aware of the fact that among the articles of the recovery plan there is one that provides EUR 150 million for upgrades for the “greenization” of the current Greek Coastal Fleet as well as another EUR 1 million for a study on the renewal of the Hellenic Coastal fleet. This money will be given to the companies directly and not as a loan.
- Τhe Hellenic Association of Passenger Shipping Companies, without having any official information but only based on some official announcements, has understood that the Ministry of Shipping seems to have managed to secure some European resources of EUR 80 million for the “greening” of the Greek Ferries, which could possibly be increased to EUR 370 million, under conditions. However, it is not clear yet how these funds will be allocated nor under what conditions and on what lines.
- Mr Paschalis underlined that the Recovery Fund has an expiration date (31/12/2026), while the European Union is currently subsidizing only the additional costs that will come up from the “greening” upgrade process of a ship. That in comparison with a pure conventional ferry.
- Greek Ferry Companies have been through a 12-year-old crisis since 2010 (memorandum, pandemic, fuel crisis), which makes them unable to finance the development as well as the construction of newbuilding ships more friendly to the environment.