Greece to transform "green" shipping fleet with new fund

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Shipping and Island Policy Minister Yiannis Plakiotakis announced plans on Tuesday for the creation of a state-supervised fund to transform Greece's coastal shipping fleet "green".

Addressing an event of the Marine Chamber, Plakiotakis said an international tender will be launched to find an advisor for the process.

He stressed that the Greek government not only resisted in this unstable environment but managed to attract global giants to the country, and he underlined that the shipping industry remained a leader on a global and European level.

George Pateras, president of the Chamber, said he expected positive results in 2023 over the renewal of the coastal shipping fleet.

This comes as pressure mounts on shipping to deliver more concrete action to cut emissions.

Haralambos J Fafalios, the GSCC chairman said: “We are still awaiting engine and shipbuilders to come up with real green solutions.”

Fafalios, when addressing the traditional New Year Vassilopitta cutting gathering on January 19 said: “We need a simple incentive such as a fuel levy as a medium-term measure until safe alternative fuels become available in the long term.”

The industry has been testing a number of cleaner fuel options including ammonia and methanol as well as trialing wind sails in an effort to look for new solutions away from dirtier bunker fuel. Fafalios said many companies, whether in shipping or commodity traders, “are touting the strengths of their favorite fuels, but none so far has a real green footprint on a well-to-wake basis”.

He said: “It must never be forgotten that shipping has always made a virtue of creating ever more energy efficient ships and reducing its fuel footprint per tonne of cargo carried. The issue of what future propulsion method will be adopted or what fuel is chosen, is still anything but settled as an issue.”

The GSCC chairman said the industry is “still awaiting engine and ship builders to come up with real green solutions”.

“It is not enough for regulators, be they IMO or the EU, to create a fiscal disadvantage for shipping, if they cannot come up with real solutions,” said Fafalios.

"However, it is very important to stress that we support the IMO exclusively and not the many regional markets because we need global solutions and not regional efforts. Otherwise, we will never succeed in truly decarbonising shipping as opposed to filling up coffers,” said Fafalios.

He said the shipping industry needs “a simple incentive such as a fuel levy as a medium-term measure until safe alternative fuels become available in the long term”.

“In the short term, we must be patient and realise the real benefits of EEXI. The operational index, CII, another short-term measure in the Imo roadmap seems to have no respect from either charterers or shipowners. World shipping is too complex to try and use rather simplistic measures for vessels fuel efficiency,” said the GSCC chairman.

Addressing the first in-person Vassilopitta cutting in three years, as “the words pandemic, war and inflation suddenly entered our daily vocabulary”. He said: “All of a sudden, commodity prices rose briskly, supply routes changed and trade patterns have altered to a degree that we would not have envisaged.”

As far as Greece is concerned, Fafalios urged the Athens government to improve the maritime education system and allow more private education establishments saying that ”if bureaucracy is greatly reduced, the Greek flag itself will benefit”.

The Hellenic Coast Guard must remain one of the backbones of the Greek maritime system and keep its many foreign outposts. “We still feel Greece should have a greater voice in EU maritime affairs and greater representation at the IMO,” he said.

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