Greek shipowners ask EU to back shortsea shipping

Hellenic Shortsea Shipowners Association (HSSA) president, Charalampos Simantonis

Charalampos Simantonis

Greece’s shortsea shipowners went to Brussels this month and called on Euro MPs to throw their weight behind Europe’s shortsea shipping sector as it faces challenges posed by the new regulatory environment.

The Hellenic Shortsea Shipowners Association (HSSA) president, Charalampos Simantonis told a Brussels workshop that measures and initiatives need to be adopted at the European level to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of the European fleet.

He said these initiatives should cover financing, the cutting of bureaucracy and the introduction of new ways of transporting commodities, adding that in the face of the new 2020 regulations motives need to be introduced that encourage the upgrading of the shortsea fleet in line with the requirements of the new regulations.

Simantonis was speaking at a one-day workshop organised at the European parliament by the HSSA and Greek Euro MP, Miltiadis Kyrkos. Titled ‘Short Sea Shipping: Defining trends-removing bottlenecks’ the workshop’s target was to highlight the key factors affecting the competitiveness of the Greek and the wider Mediterranean shortsea industry as well as discuss the trends that will prevail in view of the implementation of the new regulations in 2020.

Simantonis said that in the face of the new 2020 regulations motives need to be introduced that encourage the upgrading of the shortsea fleet in line with the requirements of the new regulations. 

Attended by Greek and foreign MEPs, representatives of Greece’s EU office, DG Move and the European Commission, the one-day workshop was told by Kyrkos of the advantages of short-sea shipping and the role the sector plays in the community’s economy and in the employment market.

Members of the eight-strong HSSA delegation spoke of the opportunity for, indeed the need for European shipyards to attract newbuildings, and warned the challenge of adapting to the new regulations would possibly result in a reduction of the short sea fleet in the Mediterranean.