XRTC: Greek Coastal Shipping Looking Ahead to Growth
The coastal shipping industry in Greece is hoping that robust tourist traffic this year will help boost activity, which hit a high in 2019 at 19 million passengers but was then impacted by the pandemic and now the energy crisis, said the Greek shipping report released recently by XRTC Business Consultants.
“Greek shipping is now at the beginning of a new cycle of development and opportunities within a transparent environment and with respect to institutions and international financial rules,” said XRTC founder and owner George Xiradakis during the presentation of the annual XRTC study.
According to the report titled “Hellenic Coastal Shipping 2022: A New Cycle of Development and Opportunity”, the pandemic continued to impact passenger shipping into 2021, a year that began with 130 million euros in losses incurred in 2020.
At the same time, however passenger traffic in 2021 with the return of tourists to the country and fewer measures was up by 47 percent and vehicle transport by 37 percent over 2020 but still down by 40 percent over pre-Covid-19.
Looking ahead, XRTC analysts are optimistic as long as the pandemic subsides and despite the closed Chinese market. Indicative of the forecasts, the first two months of 2022 transport activity was up only to be hit by the Russia-Ukraine war and the soaring fuel prices, which now account for 60 to 70 percent of operational costs compared to 30-35 percent before the war. The increasing fuel prices up by 32.4 percent on average in 2021 over 2020 are set to remain throughout 2022.
So far in 2022, a total of 100 ships are operating daily services for some 115 Greek islands and the mainland.
A main challenge facing the sector is the urgent need to renew fleet in order to meet environmental standards which is both costly and still not feasible technologically, the report said.
On the positive side, new players are entering the market, among these Hellenic Seaplanes which aims to offer hydroplane services through dozens of island-based networks, Scandro Holding which launched the Cypriot-flagged MV “Daleela” connecting Greece with Cyprus after 21 years of inactivity on that route and the recently announced Panellenic Lines.
Late last year, the Greek Shipowners Association for Passenger Ships (SEEN) said much more needed to be done to achieve 2019 levels, “which is the goal for both tourism and coastal shipping traffic, including routes to the Adriatic”.