Ferry shipping traffic for the Orthodox Easter period (to April 16) is expected to record last year’s levels, according to the president of the Greek Shipowners Association for Passenger Ships (SEEN), Michalis Sakellis.
Despite 2016 being a positive year for the coastal shipping sector in terms of services, Sakellis told a press conference this week that he doesn’t “expect any miracles”, with regard to increased numbers of passengers. Addressing a series of issues with regard to coastal shipping for 2017, SEEN’s president noted that since 2014 fewer Greeks were traveling by ferry due to financial restraints. This could change for the better in 2017 and in the following years if incoming traffic remains stable or increases, he said.
Sakellis also said he disagreed with ticket fare hikes adding that instead port charges could be discussed. He further referred to the competition the sector was facing from airlines, which ”have absorbed many ferry travelers’’ adding that he was also concerned about rising fuel prices, which may be a further blow to the industry in October, requiring slower ferry speeds.
Lastly, Sakellis underlined the issue of refugee flows towards the Aegean islands, which he said have already taken a toll on coastal ferry traffic to these destinations.