The Hellenic Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy announced a second €15 million aid package in order to cover part of the ships operating costs. Furthermore, the aid is given as an incentive for the further recovery of the ferry network, as well as the strengthening and enrichment of the routes for a period until July 20.
At the same time, another package of subsidies for maritime labour is expected by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. This aid package is much- awaited by the shipping companies who estimate that it will help them to cover a substantial part of their fleet operating costs. As far as the passenger traffic is concerned, despite the seemingly better picture of the last few days, May 2020 presented a 60% reduction compared to May 2019. A figure that is essentially low for that period of the year. Also, June 2020 is expected to be worst by 65% -70% compared to June 2019.
Shipping companies underline that the picture of “full” ships that presented by the media is completely “false”, as the ships are routed with a 60% protocol, while the number of routes are also much less compared to 2019. The same period, last year, all the lines were served by more than 20 high-speed ferries while this year high speed crafts are completely absent.
The main priority of the Ministry of Shipping is to introduce -this summer- as many ships as possible into the Aegean as well as to increase the number of routes. At the same time, is preparing a proposal to the European Commission in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance in order to compensate the shipping companies with funds from European resources. Something that is expected to be done by the end of the season.
Moreover, the Ministry is intensifying the measures at ferries in order to be much safer for the passengers due to Covid-19. For this purpose, they deployed extensive inspections on ships at sea by the Coast Guard. The aim of these inspections is the full implementation of protection measures, by crews and passengers, at a period where passenger traffic is expected to increase due to the gradual rise of tourist flows in Greece.