Greek ferry operators are calling for immediate support measures and compensation to cover 200 million euros in losses suffered as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020-2021.
More specifically, the Greek Shipowners Association for Passenger Ships (SEEN) is demanding that the government proceed with the immediate payment of dues exceeding 50 million euros for companies running remote island routes and the reinstatement of advance payment on contract leases.
SEEN made the request in a new letter to Shipping Minister Yiannis Plakiotakis this week, attributing the losses to a decline in passenger traffic, which in the first half of 2021 is expected to drop below 2020 levels and to increasing fuel costs.
In its letter SEEN warns that Greece’s tourism and transport sectors are bound to feel the impact if measures are not taken immediately to support coastal shipping companies.
“Despite the expected increase in traffic after July 1, our companies’ loss-making financial results in 2021 will be greater compared to 2020 as a consequence of fuel prices which have doubled,” SEEN said.
The association goes on to add that in “the 2020-2021 period, SEEN member ships serving the Greek islands and the Greece-Italy route – which is of great importance for the support of tourism and the country’s import/export activity – suffered losses expected to exceed 200 million euros,”
SEEN notes that despite the crisis, travel restrictions, and near to zero tourist traffic, ferries continue to operate the same number of routes as in 2019, when traffic was three times greater.