The Greek Shipping and Island Policy Ministry announced this week the launch of tenders to secure exclusive three-year contracts for 93 remote island ferry routes.
At the same time, cruise ship companies are warning that if contract fees aren’t adjusted services operating remote island routes will cease. According to business consultants XRTC report, the country’s ferry fleet is shrinking. Indicatively, last year the fleet numbered 66 ships, compared to 2001 when there were 125 vessels in operation.
Companies will be awarded the contracts based on ship characteristics including seating and sleeping capacity, age, and surface size of the vehicle loading area.
In view of the announcement, Michael Sakellis, Association of Passenger Shipping Companies (SEEN) president, told Enthos daily that small islands will continue to be serviced regularly, but warns that if leasing fees are not changed there will soon be no ships operating remote island routes as many current vessels are too old. Mr Sakellis also stressed the need for a fairer distribution of state subsidies for sea transport.