Measures here and now are being demanded by coastal shipping owners in order to continue to serve the islands smoothly and not in three months when the summer season has begun. Maybe then it will be too late, ferry agents who are watching with horror the course of marine fuels to climb again over $ 1,000 a ton in low sulfur fuels and the MGO for speedboats told OT.

More specifically, what the shipping industry is asking from the Minister of Shipping, Giannis Plakiotakis, is to pay to the shipping companies that serve barren lines the 42 million euros owed to them since last year and concern rents for routes that have been executed.

They also demand the abolition of mandatory discounts that apply to various categories of passengers. Coastal shipping is the only transport sector that is required to have discounted tickets for various categories of passengers for which the state pursues a social policy without compensating the companies.

These measures can be implemented immediately, say industry officials, stressing that the state must understand that coastal shipping is mainly conventional ships that operate all year round and pay for the expensive fuel all year round to serve the islands.

It is recalled that the Association of Passenger Shipping Companies (SEEN) has submitted a memorandum to Mr. Plakiotakis requesting a package of seven measures to support the industry.

The measures concern the imposition of a kind of ceiling on the prices of marine fuels on the basis of the average price of the previous December, the temporary reduction of VAT to the level of 6% and its return to 13% if fuel prices fall to the levels of December, the subsidy of employer contributions as was done during the pandemic, the announcement of additional public service lines as was done during the pandemic, the increase of rents for the existing barren lines of one year duration by at least 30%, the temporary suspension of the mandatory discounts implemented in various categories of passengers by the shipping companies, the enhancement of liquidity with the immediate payment of most of the 42 million euros owed by the Ministry to the shipping companies for route services that have already been completed.

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