56% of Greek shipowners considering relocation

Expect delegations from maritime clusters from around the world to descend upon Athens in ever greater numbers on news that Greek shipowners have increasingly itchy feet.

A study by Ernst & Young shows that 56% of Greek owners would consider relocating their administrative bases abroad.

The study titled ‘Repositioning Greece as a Global Maritime Capital’ warns, not for the first time, that unless regulations change Greek owners will relocate.

“If the local shipping sector’s legal framework becomes noncompetitive, or far more attractive offers are made by other countries, then a major exodus by Greek-owned shipping companies is possible,” warned one sector entrepreneur in the study.

Taxation and the regulatory framework were cited as the main reasons that would prompt shipowners to seek new bases, according to Ernst & Young. Singapore and London ranked as the most popular alternative destinations.

The Union of Greek Shipowners has warned for a number of years that an owner exodus to other shipping hubs – both inside and outside the EU – could be on the cards. The UGS finds itself with the EU at the moment in a regulatory squabble that has been rumbling for years.

UGS president Theodore Veniamis warned in a speech last month: “The prospect of relocation to hospitable shipping countries outside Europe, or even within Europe but outside the European Union, is no longer hypothetical.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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