A significant rise in fuel prices has burdened financial results of coastal shipping companies, creating pressures for an increase in ferry fares after a decade of stability and discount policy, says Mihalis Sakellis, chairman of the Association of Passenger Ship Operators.
Sakellis added that unfortunately an increase in business was accompanied by a 29 percent increase in fuel prices in 2017 and by another 25 percent in 2018, a development that burdened companies’ financial results by 100 million euros, or 15 percent of total fares.
The Chairman also called for a reduction in VAT rates to 13 percent or even 6 percent in order to cover increased operating expenses without raising transport costs. He added that depending on the shipping line, 30-50 percent of passengers travelled with discount tickets.
Sakellis said that the coastal shipping business was facing a further increase in costs by 30 percent due to its obligation to consume “cleaner” fuel from 2020 onwards.
A total of 74 ships are currently operating in coastal shipping lines in the Aegean Sea and the Ionian Sea, of which 13.5 percent have an age of more than 40 years. Sakellis said that by the end of the next decade, 41 ships will be aged more than 40 years leading to the need for gradual replacement of the fleet.