Greek ocean shipping could be a nexus for development and growth in Greece in the coming years, with the prospect of boosting the added value of the economy, provided that a more broadly attractive and competitive environment for entrepreneurship is developed, said Theodoros Veniamis, president of the Union of Greek Shipowners, during the annual ordinary general meeting of the UGS.
Addressing the meeting on Wednesday, Veniamis also said it was urgent to take steps to stop the departure of ships from the Greek register before the situation became irreversible, and he welcomed the fact that there was a stated priority of the Greek State to make the Greek vessel competitive again. Veniamis also stressed that seafaring should be revived in the country and become a career solution for young people facing unemployment and seeking job and vocational opportunities, adding that in order to implement this vision “we need to leave behind the trade unions’ past practices, which he said had “held an entire professional industry hostage”.
He said that in February 2019, the Greek maritime community, with overwhelming participation in ship numbers and tonnage rates, signed, after the expiry of the first five-year voluntary double voluntary tonnage tax, a new indefinite agreement on tax treatment of maritime dividends, which was subsequently ratified by the Greek Parliament with a wide parliamentary majority. Referring to the global economy, he said its performance remained low, with the volume of freight moving worldwide rising by only 0.3 pct, due to the imposition of duties by major economies such as the United States of America and countermeasures taken by other countries, including China, but also because of significantly limited global economic growth.
He added that Greek-owned shipping welcomed the new decade by keeping the figures and quality of its supremacy intact, with about 5,000 ships with an average age of 9.17 years, lower than the global fleet average, representing 20 pct dwt of world tonnage and over 54 pct of European and, with new ship orders, reaching 10 pct of world tonnage.