The Greek maritime cluster is on track to enjoy an improving 2019, according to the head of the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping (HCS), a government advisory body.
In an exclusive interview with Maritime CEO, Dr George Pateras, president of the chamber since 2016, tells readers that sign ups to Maritime Hellas, the online directory covering the Greek maritime cluster, are growing fast, on track to surpass 100,000 people this year.
In conjunction with the HCS, the Union of Greek Shipowners and the Piraeus Chamber of Commerce & Industry jointly decided to promote the Greek maritime cluster, creating Maritime Hellas in 2016. Its membership today stands at more than 93,000. Commendably, any profits from the directory are being channelled towards maritime education.
As well as his government advisory role Pateras has served as managing director at Aegeus Shipping for the past 37 years. Aegeus is one of Greece’s oldest family run shipping lines, historically focusing on the smaller dry bulk trades.
With his HCS hat on, Pateras stresses the fundamental importance of shipping to the Greek economy. The industry is second only to tourism in importance, responsible for about 7% of the GDP of the country, according to 2017 data. More than 190,000 people are directly employed through the Greek shipping industry.
The latest World Fleet Monitor, published by Clarksons Research in January, shows the Greek merchant fleet remains the world’s largest, with 223.3m gt, nearly 50m gt ahead of its nearest rival, China.
As the Chinese New Year gets underway today, Pateras remains optimistic that it will be a positive one for Greek shipping, a nation that has profited well from the rise of the Asian nation this century.
“Greek shipping has strong foundations based on professional managers, competent crews and a dedicated Ministry of Shipping. The fundamentals are good for 2019 and I believe that the Greek owned fleet will continue its expansion in all sectors during 2019,” Pateras says.