The major international maritime exhibition of Posidonia, which is returning to our country following a four-year absence, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, is of primary importance for Greece, shipping and, therefore, the city of Piraeus.

Piraeus constitutes the cornerstone and an integral part of our country’s maritime sector. It is the municipality where the heart of Greek shipping “beats”; the first and most important pillar of our national economy, playing a leading role on an international scale. It is our country’s largest port and the gateway to Greece for millions of tourists.

Our country’s optimistic, creative and extrovert nature and spirit emerge and are highlighted through Posidonia. In addition, our vision, as our city’s governing body, is to transform Piraeus into a modern port-city, worthy of and equivalent to other large European cities …

Being aware of the sea’s significance for our city’s sustainable economic growth, we have consistently made systematic efforts towards the direction of “Blue Growth” since we assumed the municipality of Piraeus’ administration in 2014. The first results of our efforts have already yielded significant benefits for both the local economy and entrepreneurship.

Piraeus has been one of the first cities in Greece to plan and implement a specific strategic for “Blue Growth”, elevating the maritime sector to the fore of its economic development.

We have established the Center of Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Blue Growth. Our “Blue Lab” constitutes a conduit for the development and promotion of new ventures, ideas and products, through cutting-edge technology, such as 3D printing. “Blue Lab” has been included in an“innovation catalogue” kept by the ministry of interior as a pioneering practice for Greek public administration. Besides innovation and entrepreneurship, it also supports society through actions and initiatives, such as it did during the initial phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, manufacturing protection shields for health care staff employees and other at-risk groups, and making use of its advanced technological equipment. We are, therefore, particularly proud of the operation of such a center by our Municipality.

Piraeus also excels at the European level, as well, acting as a “model-municipality” for other port cities, whose livelihood depend on the sea and a “blue economy”.

Our initiative to establish, in 2014, the annual Blue Growth Innovation Competition, which concerns economic activities related to all facets of the maritime sector, has promoted implementation of young professionals’ business ideas, via the creation of their own companies. It was because of this specific initiative that the Municipality of Piraeus was designated by URBACT, the EU’s learning and exchange program for cities, as a “Good Practice City” for its Blue Growth Initiative. Additionally, the Municipality of Piraeus’ Blue Growth competition is also taking place in three other European port-cities: in Boulogne, France; Gdansk, Poland and Koper, Slovenia.

Focusing on the “Blue Economy” we have also established the “Business Support Center” and “The StartUPiraeus Support Center” for newly founded enterprises in the Municipality of Piraeus, which provide free-of-charge services to existing businesses as well as to those in the process of being established, so as to boost their growth and foster their extraversion.

More than 600 businesses have been supported by the “BSC”, either individually or as part of a bloc of businesses. Another concrete example has been the seven million euros in NSRF funding towards businesses which were seriously affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, thus helping them endure the difficult circumstances emanating from the public health crisis.

We have also launched the “Knowledge and Innovation for Blue Economy Community” program in cooperation with the University of Piraeus,which aims to connect businesses active in the wider region with research institutes, and towards the direction of an increase in productivity and the dissemination of innovation in the real economy.

We have, therefore, created a large network comprised of interventions and initiatives, mainly drawing on national and EU funds, and focusing on entrepreneurship, innovation and technological developments, which are inherent in the shipping industry. Shipping is a particularly competitive sector, one that is rapidly developing; therefore, we are obliged not only to be aware of such developments but to also follow a trail-blazing course, if we want to achieve significant progress as a city.

As part of this effort, as partners we have our city’s chambers of commerce, the University of Piraeus as well as several other competent bodies active in the blue development and economy. Piraeus’ economic and social reconnection with the maritime sector and the largest port of Greece is the common denominator of all our efforts.

The port of Piraeus is constantly growing alongside with the city of Piraeus. An extension of the metro line to our city at the end of this summer is expected to further reinforce and promote Piraeus’ potential, in terms of transport and tourism.

Over the past few years Piraeus has made major progress, characterized by an extroverted nature and growth, as it is being transformed into a more modern, citizen- and tourist-friendly, ”smart” and innovative city with a unique dynamism.

Ioannis Moralis, Mayor of Piraeus

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