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Think-tank: Greek Coastal Shipping a Major Force of the Economy

port_piraeusCoastal shipping is one of the driving forces of the Greek economy, the country’s most influential think-tank said this week.

According to a study on the impact of ferry transport on the Greek economy by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE), Greece’s shipping sector is one of the largest in Europe and one of the top contributors to the Greek economy.

Greek coastal shipping accounted for 6.5 percent of GDP in 2013 (11.8 billion euros). The domestic shipping industry provides a total of 260,000 jobs, accounting for 2 percent of the total workforce.

In 2009, rising fuel prices and the sharp drop in passenger traffic due to the economic crisis took a toll on the sector creating uncertainty. The future of shipping seemed bleak and the inevitable consequences for the national economy would be devastating.

ferry_WP_000376According to the study, the sector must adjust to the new economic conditions. This, the study says, requires continuous efforts to reduce operating costs while maintaining the best quality services.

In the short term, the think-tank recommends restructuring the framework of operations while implementing measures to stimulate demand by abolishing surcharges, cutting port charges and reducing VAT on tickets.

The findings were presented at the Piraeus Chamber of Commerce and Industry by the foundation’s president Νikolaos Vettas.

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