Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras kicked off Posidonia 2016 on Monda in the presence of Heads of States, European Union officials, Greek cabinet members, foreign maritime ministers, board members of the Union of Greek Shipowners, chairmen of international organisations, as well as some 1,500 exhibitors and delegates from around the world.
Addressing the global audience, Prime minister Tsipras said Greek ocean going shipping contributes 7% to Greece’s gross GDP whilst providing significant direct and indirect employment opportunities.
He also said the strength of Greek shipping has helped position the country at the epicentre of the changes and developments the global economy is undergoing. He added investments for the improvement of the existing infrastructure are essential and would provide Greece with yet another competitive advantage in the country’s road to recovery.
Shipping and Island Policy minister, Theodoris Dritsas, said, “Despite the difficulties in both the national and global economic environment, Greek shipping managed to maintain its leading position. More than 1,350 shipping companies are established in Greece, mainly in Piraeus, constituting the driving force for a number of related economic activities providing almost 200,000 jobs both at sea and ashore, covering over 30% of the country’s trade deficit.”
IMO secretary general Kitack Lim, said, “Shipping has a wonderful ability to tap into rich currents of innovation and excellence in key areas, from safety at sea, to clean shipping – and beyond. Events like Posidonia provide a valuable opportunity to showcase all that creativity and energy; an opportunity to mix, to mingle, to make friends and do business.”
Matej Zakonjšek, Head of Cabinet to Commissioner for Transport, European Commission said, “I am delighted to see the vitality of the sector in spite of the hardships – an impressive example of this is the Greek shipping community hosting this event. The potential of shipping to bring prosperity to Europe is strong, and so is our resolve to work together with all of you to overcome any stormy seas ahead.”
“Greek shipowners, and the Greek state, as representatives of a traditional maritime country, currently amounting approximately to 50% of European shipping and 20% of the world fleet in terms of tonnage, have been strong supporters of the institutional role of the Imo as the only appropriate legislative body for shipping.
“I would like to stress the priority for European legislators should be to form a shipping policy focused on maintaining the competitiveness of community shipping. A policy that takes into account the international character of shipping and the necessary prerequisite to be competitive, hence, sustainable in order to continue operating smoothly to the benefit of the European economy, public welfare and world trade,” said Presient of the Union of Greek Shipowners, Theodore Veniamis.
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