The Greek-owned oceangoing shipping remains highly competitive even during the period of global recession, since Greek shipowners control more than 15% of the world fleet. The sector demonstrates its ability to adapt to constantly changing and demanding conditions, something which is reflected also in the investment for newbuildings, which exceeded $13 billion in 2011.
However, even according to the most optimistic analysts a strong recovery of the shipping sector is not expected to occur for three more years, at least. The benefits for the Greek economy from the oceangoing shipping sector are several. The recorded total contribution of oceangoing shipping to the economy is substantial, as according to official data, it amounts to €13 billion in value added and to 192,000 jobs.
The potential benefits for the Greek economy, in the hypothetical scenario of attracting more shipping management activities (even foreign owned) domestically, are even bigger. The total potential added value that the sector can generate exceeds €25.9 billion, while the potential employment in the oceangoing shipping and in the sectors that are indirectly involved with shipping’s demand is estimated at around 550 thousand jobs.
Evidently, the main goal is to attract as many shipping companies and offices in Greece as possible, so as to foster as much as possible the Greek economy not only at the time of the deepening crisis, but also over the long term. For the latter to be accomplished, the creation of a specific strategic policy framework in Greece is required, according to which the shipping sector will operate competitively in the international business environment without further obstacles.
Attracting more shipowners in the Greek market demands (like any other capital investment) political and economic stability. Additionally, it is necessary to amend the shipping policy, so as to ensure its independency from the political cycle of changes in government.
The Contribution of Ocean-Going Shipping to The Greek Economy
Through more detailed studies the best available international practices can be adopted to the unique Greek environment, in order to create a broader strategic plan boosting the maritime intrepreneurship and overall the oceangoing shipping sector in the country.
Attracting funds from abroad through the relocation of shipping agencies (and shipping activities in general) in the country is expected to have enormous beneficial prospects. As the lookout for a model of sustainable and fair development of the Greek economy is one of the greatest challenges of today, opportunities such as those offered by the further development of the domestic shipping activity should be of high priority.
Maximization of the contribution of the sector to the Greek economy can be achieved by meeting the shipping demand from domestic sources by strengthening the domestic ecosystem that supports shipping. In this way, the outflow of funds generated by shipping will be reduced significantly. Consequently, innovative systems and processes are required. These could provide competitive products and services, free from any protections and obstacles that currently prevail in the model of the Greek economy. One indicative example, could be the modernization of the
shipbuilding/repairing services that will lead (among others) to the generation of a significant number of employment positions in the Greek economy as a result of the increased demand by Greek and foreign shipping companies.
The existence of a significant pool of young educated Greek seafarers is a vital precondition for attracting more shipping companies in Greece. According to the ELSTAT data, presented in the second chapter of the report, the entry of young educated Greek seamen to the sector has fallen significantly over the past decades. The candidates that are admitted in the maritime faculties annually do not exceed 1,350 people (on average), while there are no data regarding success rates and graduation.