Greek coastal shipping companies look to copy some of the international airline moves to cut costs. Five Greek coastal shipping companies have decided to pool their forces to achieve economies of scale to prepare for the deregulation of the domestic passenger shipping market in 2004.
Chania-based Anek Lines and Anen Lines, East Crete passenger company Lane, the Dodecanese islands’ passenger line Dane, and Maritime of Lesvos (Nel) have decided to unify many of their services. They will start with the unification of procurement departments and the participation together at domestic and overseas tourist fairs. This will be followed by the creation of a common electronic ticketing system (the five companies hope to set up a unified computerized booking system whereby one type of ticket is issued through a central body, likely to be based in Piraeus, possibly by next year),.
Their plan also involves proposals for docking at Turkish ports and establishing new links via sea travel between Turkey and the Greek islands. Other plans include domestic cruise services between the ports already served by the five. Anek and Nel will also cooperate on the Adriatic Sea passenger and ferry lines between Greece and Italy. Nel recently entered this lucrative market through its buyout of Med Link Cruises.
The five companies separately service 35 ports throughout the Mediterranean; their fleet totals 25, but the arrival of newbuildings in 2001 will boost the number to 31. The common ticketing system is scheduled to start operating next year.