3rd Naftemporiki Shipping Conference
Greek and European Shipping
Competitiveness and prospects in
times of uncertainty
The conference in brief
International shipping, and by extension the all-important Greek shipping sector, finds itself amid a crucial juncture. Geopolitical developments, a looming “Brexit” and the ongoing low growth rates of global commerce, in tandem with the slowdown in the Chinese economy, have created significant impediments to the sector’s expansion. Nevertheless, the crisis can and should serve as an opportunity for ship owners, executives and entrepreneurs who dare to foresee a more prosperous future. Greek ship owners and executives, amongst the pioneers in modern-day ocean-going shipping, still retain noteworthy liquidity and appear ready to invest in their sector, despite the current downturn and a continuing “drought” in shipping finance.
Beyond the existing market challenges, the Greek and global shipping sector must now also navigate through a gamut of new regulations slapped on practically every facet of their operations, particularly on issues of environmental protection. On top of increased international regulations, certain isolated cases of additional regional regulations and legal hindrances create unfair conditions of competition, and even undermine the environmental protection measures taken at the global level.
Ground-breaking technological developments in shipping are also cause for deliberation and innovation. The “smart ship” is neither a utopia nor a near-future prospect, but a gradually emerging reality.
All of the above comprise a challenging environment for both the Greek and European shipping sector. Of particular concern are recent EU Commission measures that directly burden Europe-based shipping companies, with the result benefitting out-of-Europe shipping hubs in terms of competitiveness and in attracting a greater market share and profits from the global sector.
At present, maritime shipping transports 90 percent of international trade, connecting more than 3,000 ports around the world. Greek shipping remains a global power and a foundation of the Greek economy, representing 7 percent of GDP and accounting for thousands of job spots onboard and off shore. Numerous ship owners and executives have also been active for decades in charitable works throughout Greece. Although global in reach, Greece is the “heart” of Greek shipping and will continue to be, especially with the recent initiatives by top companies to boost the local shipping cluster.
The present and the future of shipping – by Greek interests, European and global – brought together several of the sector’s top protagonists to Athens on Jan. 19, 2017 for the third annual Naftemporiki Shipping Conference.