Coastal services should not be taken for granted
There is no doubt that the contribution of our coastal transport to the economic development of our country is of great importance, as well as the social dimension of the services offered.
Our fleet, including ships that are unique in their class around the world, is perhaps, considered as the most modern in Europe.
In total, 95 islands are served by ships, out of which 44 under public service obligation contracts (PSO). Passenger ships exclusively serve the need of intercommunication between the islands. Each year 12,000,000 tourists are transported and more than 9,000,000 tons of goods, materials and food.
In 2017, traffic increased by 8 percent, but for 2018 we expect marginal growth only. Last year, fuel prices, which currently account for 40 percent of our ships operating costs, have risen by 28 percent and we estimate that the financial performance of the companies in the years 2017/2018 will exceed 90 million euros.
Greece’s fleet is perhaps considered as the most modern in Europe.
We also expect a new statutory increase of around 30 percent in 2020 due to our commitment to the consumption of greener fuels.
In the future, the issues that must directly concern us and must be solved include: the emergence of the insularity of our country; our planning for the renewal of the fleet for the next decade; the quality upgrade of services offered to the lines under PSO contracts; and our preparation for the consumption of greener fuels after 2020.
The period that we are going through, but also in the years to come, will be difficult and we know it. Coastal services should not be taken for granted and it takes a lot of effort and planning to maintain the high standard of services that are currently available.