Greece’s coastal shipping industry will have to find ways to remain above water as it faces the unprecedented challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the 2020 Greek shipping report released recently by XRTC Business Consultants.
Titled “Responsibility and Realism: The Conditions to Deal with the New Reality”, the annual XRTC report refers to the positive results of 2019 while looking ahead to the prospects of growth in the post-Covid-19 era.
“The Greek coastal shipping sector must immediately take action on two levels: ensuring its immediate survival and securing the longterm maintenance and viability of the industry in the emerging environment through European funds. On both levels, state aid is deemed necessary through institutional and financial interventions,” the report said.
XRTC analysts note that the industry is sailing uncharted waters at the given time, adding that they do not expect positive performance in 2020 apart from a select number of companies exclusively serving state routes.
The government must promptly identify problem areas and formulate support packages that take into consideration the necessary investments in health protocols required to keep the fleet active, the study said.
Indicatively, passenger traffic in 2020 is expected to reach approximately 8.88 million passengers compared to 18.2 million last year. At the same time, transport activity in the first five months of 2020 dropped by 60 percent.
“The winter of 2020-2021 will be particularly difficult for the industry as revenues from the first half and summer are not adequate to meet their operating needs… the only way to be able to meet their financial and operational obligations is through direct state or European aid,” the report said.