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Red Tape Puts a Damper on Greek Waterway Network

seaplane_The future of Greece’s ambitious waterway network is drowning in red tape with the government failing to grant a single license in 2015, two years after a law paving the way for strategic investments was voted.

To date, of the 15 applications awaiting approval, only one waterway, that on the island of Corfu, has received licensing, Greek daily To Vima reports.

In the meantime, the government through the infrastructure ministry, said it would be preparing a new draft law with the aim to accelerate the licensing procedure, which also involves a number of entities, including the Civil Aviation Authority and the state-run Enterprise Greece investment management agency.

According to the Directorate-General for Transport, applications for waterways in Volos, Lavrio, Rethymno, Patra, Agia Marina, Grammatiko, Zakynthos, Skyros, Alonissos, Skopelos, Paxos, Amfilochia, Patmos, Tinos and Thessaloniki are currently being assessed.

According to a ministry document, the delays are due to the “current legal framework for the authorization of waterways in a single stage (one license for the establishment of facilities, operation and exploitation), which in effect requires a specialized and certified staff employed for a long period of time before the opening of the waterways. Consequently, the majority of applications submitted to our ministry are incomplete”.

Another major problem is environmental licensing. “None of the 14 applications has received environmental approval,” the ministry document adds.

In the meantime, a main operator, Hellenic Seaplanes, said recently that it expects to launch its first hydroplane flights this summer from waterways on the Sporades islands, Volos and Thessaloniki.

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