“Our coastal transport is shipping but also tourism and the tourism development of our country is based on the tourism development of the islands, which demands good ferry services,” Mihalis Sakellis, the CEO of Blue Star Ferries, said while speaking at the “Shipping Today and Tomorrow” conference held in Athens in late September.
Mr. Sakellis stressed that ever since the abolishment of the Ministry of Mercantile Marine, in less than two years the responsibilities for shipping have been assigned to three different ministries. “Over 10 presidential decrees have been issued that alter the distribution of responsibilities,” he said.
In regards to the major problems of coastal transport, he highlighted the excessive increase of fuel prices, the expensive fees formed by high taxation and the decrease in passengers, which is estimated this year at 15 percent.
Mr. Sakellis called for reduced port charges, the elimination of the three percent surcharge and a VAT reduction on “the level of hotels.”