This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 7/12/2017

Overview

Greek-interest controlled shipping has continued its growth, with the number of Greek controlled vessels rising to 4,092 (vessels exceeding 1,000 Gross Tonnage).  Shipping counts second only to tourism in Greece in terms of economic contribution, contributing an estimated 7% to the country’s GDP and employing over 190,000 people.  Unlike other industries in Greece, shipping’s business cycle traditionally follows global trends driven by the world’s transportation needs, and it remains largely immune from the economic and political instabilities in Greece.  Although low crude oil prices have been boosting refinery utilization, the recent rock-bottom level of dry bulk suggests a very slow and painful recovery due to unfavorable trading conditions, large order books, and pressure to delay newbuild deliveries.
 
Greece currently possesses the largest merchant marine fleet in the world, with the Greek flag fleet ranking fifth internationally and first within the EU in terms of DWT.  Greek’s control 4,092 ships of various categories, with a total of 320,597,574 DWT and 188,904 GT.  The fleet registered under the Greek Flag has decreased slightly, now comprising 809 ships of 78,948,501 DWT and 46,049,729 GT.  Greek ship owners, however, rank first in terms of both new tonnage and new build fleet value, bringing vessel ages well below the international average.  Greek ship owners have been moving into more sophisticated LNG and LPG carriers, offshore supply vessels, and container ships.  It is alleged that ship owners with significant stakes in drill ships are now experiencing difficulties.  The question of choosing the right moment and the right technology to upgrade their fleets for efficient and environmentally friendly operations is becoming even more important.
 
TABLE 1: GREEK CONTROLLED SHIPPING
Greek- owned ships registered under various flags (ships over 1000 gt)

 
Date ShipsDWGT
March19882,48785,047,43647,269,018
March19892,42881,928,29645,554,419
February19902,42684,439,15946,580,539
March19912,45487,102,78547,906,852
March19922,68898,218,17653,891,528
March19932,749103,958,10456,918,268
March19943,019120,650,37366,342,046
March19953,142126,128,35271,666,943
March19963,246129,737,33675,156,763
March19973,204127,782,56774,982,110
February19983,358133,646,83178,900,843
March19993,424139,255,18483,454,890
March20003,584150,966,32490,227,491
March20013,618168,434,370100,220,348
March20023,480164,613,93598,195,100
May20033,355171,593,487103,807,860
March20043,370180,140,898108,929,135
March20053,338182,540,868109,377,819
March20063,397190,058,534113,603,803
February20073,699218,229,552129,765,470
February20084,173260,929,221154,599,274
February20094,161263,560,741156,214,619
February20103,996258,121,898152,616,046
March20113,848261,675,981153,128,919
March20123,760264,054,167155,904,976
March20133,677265,336,520155,988,384
March20143,901290,847,132170,984,684
March20154,057314,456,451184,063,875
February20164,092320,597,574188,904,194
March20174,085328,763,767192,430,519
Source: Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee based on data from the Lloyd’s Register
 
Greece’s extensive coastal waterways and its geographic location have traditionally served as a gateway to the central Balkans and the Middle East as well as a passage to the Black Sea.  This generates opportunities for U.S. firms and demand for maritime transportation services and products and services with maritime application.  The Port of Piraeus, located adjacent to Athens, serves as a primary crossroad between East and West.  The Greek Government initiated modernization of the port in 2010, and in 2013 granted China’s COSCO the management of the container operations for 35 years under a €4.3 billion contract.  Additionally, COSCO was selected as the preferred bidder for a 67% stake in the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) for €368.5 million, and the concession agreement, which was signed April 8, 2016, is proceeding smoothly.
 
Greece has also sold 67% of the shares of the Port of Thessaloniki, in which Deutsche Invest Equity Partners acquired 47% and Belterra Investment, controlled by Greek-Russian businessman Ivan Ignatyevich Savvidis, acquired 20%.  Greece’s Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) intends to privatize ten of Greece’s  smaller ports operating in the form of corporations, namely the ports of Volos, Rafina, Igoumenitsa, Patras, Alexandroupolis, Heraklion, Elefsina, Lavrion, Corfu, and Kavala.  The HRAF holds 100% of these port companies, which have rights to operate them until 2042. 
Further information may be found in the following link: HRADF
 
Domestic business interests dominate this sector; however, foreign competition is increasingly active in partnership with Greek companies.  While British and Dutch interests are strong, U.S. marine equipment and service providers continue to be well represented.  U.S. businesses should be aware that Greek ship owners become personally involved in most buying decisions.  This applies also to those Greek ship owners who live and operate outside of the country, because they often process their decisions through their offices and trusted staff in Greece.

Despite the turmoil caused by the global financial crisis, many Greek-owned shipping companies appear to continue to possess sufficient liquidity to be able to re-enter the market with even more modern, larger, and more efficient vessels.
 
Globally, Greek ships are registered under over 40 national flags, with 18% of vessels globally flying the Greek flag.  The Greek flag lost 62 ships over the last year.  The flags that gained Greek-owned ships were Marshal Islands - 74, Liberia - 31. Cyprus – 13, and Malta - 4.  Greek ship owners are the leading customers of the world’s shipyards, purchasing their ships from Japan, South Korea, China, Germany, and to a lesser extent from France and Italy.
 
As shipping in Greece is a predominantly family business for Greeks, it is sometimes hard to know who exactly the largest industry players are.  This may occur because the assets of the ship owners may suddenly become separated or merged, rearranging the picture.  Also, it is worth noting that it is the family names of the ship owners that are usually known throughout the shipping business communities and not so much the names of companies through which the fleets are managed.  Greece continues to be on top of worldwide shipping in 2016, while 13 Greek ship owners stand among the 100 most important in the industry.  Greek shipping continues to lead the world, with Japan coming second and China third.  According to the “Lloyd’s List one Hundred”, there are 13 Greeks amongst its listing of the “One Hundred most influential people in global shipping”:
 
#7. John Angelicoussis, Angelicoussis Shipping Group
#12. George Prokopiou, Dynagas
#19. Angeliki Frangou, Navios
#20. George Economou, DryShips
#23. Peter G. Livanos, GasLog/Ceres Shipping
#35. Petros Pappas, Star Bulk
# 42. Nikolas Tsakos, Tsakos Energy Navigation
#50. Kostis Konstantakopoulos, Costamare
#53. Theodore Veniamis, Union of Greek Shipowners
#60. Peter Georgiopoulos, Gener8 Maritime
# 61 Evangelos Marinakis, Capital Maritime & Trading
# 81 John Platsidakis, Intercargo
# 95. Simos P. Palios, Diana Shipping
# 96. Polys Hajioannou, Safe Bulkers

 

Leading  Sub-Sectors

Communication aids, computer and software applications, navigation aids, radar, safety equipment, coatings and paints, cutting-edge navigation, maritime anti-piracy solutions and technology, maritime financial and insurance services, ship repair, and conversion products and services.  Greek ship owners are currently keenly interested in technologies for LNG and LPG carriers, for offshore supply vessels, and container ships.

Opportunities

For the 18th consecutive time, the U.S. Commercial Service in Athens will organize a U.S. Pavilion at the Posidonia Shipping Expo from June 4 to 8, 2018.  The expo is a U.S. Department of Commerce Certified Trade Fair.  Posidonia provides direct access to Greek shipping and also the owners of the largest fleet under the control of any national group, dominating the new builds order book.  During the week of Posidonia, nearly all Greek ship-owners converge in Greece.  In addition to the main event, there are also numerous other gatherings where companies can obtain exposure to Greece’s shipping decision makers.  The U.S. Embassy reception to honor the U.S. participants in Posidonia is one of the most prestigious gatherings held during Posidonia, as it draws some of the Greece’s most important ship owners and most influential policy decision makers.
 
Participation in the U.S. Pavilion offers un-matched worldwide business expansion opportunities for the U.S. shipping industry and related U.S. service and supply sectors.

Web Resources

Posidonia Exhibitions SA
Hellenic Chamber of Shipping
Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy
 
Resources & Contacts
Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy
Akti Vasiliadi
185 10 Piraeus
Tel: +30 210 4191700 & 4064700
Fax: +30 210 4191561,   4191562 - 210 419156
Email: info@yen.gr
 
Thessaloniki Port Authority S.A
Inside the Port
54 110, Thessaloniki, Greece
Tel: +30 2310 593121
Fax: +30 2310 510500
Email: secretariat@thpa.gr
 
Piraeus Port Authority (OLP)
10 Akti Miaouli Street
185 38 Piraeus, Greece
Tel: +30 210 4550229
Fax: +30 210 4550310
Email: olp@olp.gr
 
Union of Greek Shipowners
85 Miaouli Street
185 38 Piraeus, Greece
Tel: +30 210 4291159 through 65
Fax: +30 210 429 1166
Email: ugs@ath.forthnet.gr
Website: N/A
 
Commercial Specialist: 
George.Bonanos@trade.gov


 

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.



Greece Distribution and Logistics Trade Development and Promotion