Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Anomeritis last month presented a new draft bill for coastal shipping. It includes a schedule of shipping routes that cover the whole country and one that is binding for passenger shipping firms.
The new proposed network contains 239 routes, divided into main and local, connecting 91 ports. It will be submitted to shippers, who will meet with the minister and submit their own proposals in writing to the Coastal Shipping Council, which will advise on the final text.
Passenger shippers must submit “routing declarations,” that specify which routes they will serve and what ships they will use to do so. Each ship can serve more than one route and each route may be served by several ships that belong to the same shipping company.
There are minimum scheduling requirements for each route in order to ensure adequate transport between the designated ports. The Shipping Council is responsible for ensuring adequate service in all routes, especially the local ones, and for proposing solutions in case there are no takers for a particular local route.
Despite the fact that passenger shipping is now all privately owned, its regulation by the state continues to be tight. Ostensibly, this is to ensure service to Greece’s more remote locations.