Greece and the port of Piraeus, specifically, are viewed as future competitors of Asia’s aggressive shipping hubs in the coming decade, a study gauging the views and forecasts of 779 Greek shipping executives revealed.
The primary conclusions of the study, conducted by EY in cooperation with Aegean University professor Thanos Pallis, also detail the fluid situation that exists today in the international maritime shipping sector, as well as in the global economy.
Specifically, asked which shipping hubs or “clusters” today offer the most attractive and comprehensive framework in which to operate a shipping management company, more than half (58 percent) of respondents picked Piraeus, Greece’s biggest port. The second choice was Singapore (53 percent), followed by Dubai (29 percent) and London (24 percent). The three aforementioned metropolises, in fact, were cited as Piraeus’ biggest competitors.
Conversely, taking into account the balance of advantages and disadvantages offered by Piraeus, the continuing shift in favor of economic activity in Asia’s developing economies and the growth of alternative shipping clusters, 56 percent of respondents said they would consider transferring their operations outside Greece; 36 percent said they would not consider such a prospect.
The top choice for a location outside Greece and Piraeus is Singapore, picked by 52 percent of the respondents in the study, followed closely by the “traditional” Greek shipping hub of London, 48 percent.
The tax regime (84 percent) and the regulatory framework (64 percent) are again the primary reasons given for a company’s management to consider moving operations overseas. Geographical position and access to financing are the other top reasons cited.
Exactly 97 percent of those who responded to the study’s questions said they conduct at least a few shipping operations and ship management from Greece, 56 percent saying they run all operations from the country. Additionally, 79 percent of respondents fully agree with the view that Greece offers competitive advantages for a ship owner or related maritime company, shipbroker etc. This response clashes with the prevalent view, by most respondents, regarding any competitive advantages of retaining their vessels on the Greek registry.
The biggest advantages cited in terms of keeping operations in Greece are human resources, and especially ship engineers, regardless of whether they are assigned to the vessel or land-based.
Asked to predict the top shipping clusters in the world over the coming decade, 73 percent picked Singapore, with Piraeus a distant second (49 percent), and Shanghai (33 percent), Dubai, London and Hong Kong following.
In terms of Piraeus, specifically, Greece’s biggest and largest commercial port was ranked eighth in Europe in 2015 and among the 50 top ports worldwide for the same year in terms of container traffic (45th).
Piraeus was the eighth most popular Mediterranean port of call for cruise ships in 2015, a year best forgotten in terms of domestic economic developments.
As of August 2016 Shanghai-based shipping giant Cosco assumed the management of the Piraeus Port Authority after purchasing a majority stake expected to reach 66 percent. The state-controlled Chinese multinational won the concession for the port in an international tender, submitting the highest bid.