Greek ferry operators increased fares by 6 percent this week citing higher fuel costs due to the implementation of IMO 2020, the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) low sulphur regulation.
The coastal shipping companies informed the ministry and the competition committee of their decision, noting that they had already suggested measures to avoid the hike, namely that the government slash VAT on fares, currently at 24 percent.
In efforts to keep prices down, a number of ferry operators have opted to invest in the installation of air pollution control devices known as scrubbers. The installation of this device is estimated at costing approximately 5 million euros per ship.
Minoan Lines has already equipped several of its ships with scrubbers and Attica Group is expected to follow suit.
IMO 2020 took effect on January 1 with very low sulphur fuel oil (VLFSO) prices having surged in the meantime. The regulation, aimed at reducing air pollution by requiring that all ships use the reduced – but more costly – sulphur fuel (from 3.5 percent to 0.5 percent), is set to raise operating costs by 25 percent sending one ton of fuel from 450 euros to 575 euros this month.
It should be noted that coastal shipping companies operating ferries on Greece’s remote island routes will not increase fares as the added fuel cost will be covered by state subsidies, which rose this year to 130 million euros from 90 million euros.