The contribution of shipowners to the welfare of Greece is far greater than the data produced by official channels. Though the recorded contribution of shipping to the country’s economy is very significant, averaging some $18bn - $19bn annually, as Shipping and Aegean minister, Miltiadis Varvitsiotis notes, personal contributions are often not made public.
Poor market conditions and a lack of ship finance have failed to slow the evolution of the Greek-owned fleet. If anything, the current state of the market has presented challenges which have in turn spurred the evolution. Challenges linked to the sizeable orderbook, the lack of finance and the adverse impact of these on vessel values and cashflows are conditions which Greeks are adept at exploiting.
Greek shipowners seem generally to be having a “good crisis” despite the prolonged recession. Undoubtedly it has taken a toll, especially among smaller owners who are so important to the Greek shipping cluster, but the market doldrums have brought down remarkable few of the major players
It has always been difficult to keep up with what Greek shipowners are up to. The job became a little easier with the advent of the equity market and the string of statements required to be made by listed companies in the name of transparency. IT has also made it possible to get a lead, at least, as to what is what.
Greece may not be the promised land it once was, but it is certainly a land of promises… if July is any yard-stick. However, as the summer sun got hotter a growing number of the promises made during the month, if not melting a way altogether, were under a cloud.