Union of Greek Shipowners upbeat on 2018

Union of Greek Shipowners leader, Theodore Veniamis is confident, “2018 looks like being a year in which all shipping sectors will be able to return to growth and profitability”.

He also believes Greece’s confrontation with the European Union with respect to the institutional and constitutional legal framework of Greek shipping is close to ending.

Addressing the UGS agm in Athens he was referring to the EU’s efforts too have Greece overhaul the country’s shipping taxation by restricting tonnage tax to pure-play shipping companies and by abolishing shipowners’ exemption from dividend and inheritance taxes.

A short time prior to him winning a record fourth three-year term as president of the UGS, Veniamis noted the Greek government has firmly supported the Greek case regarding tax at every level in the EU.

He said: "We are close to reaching an agreement with the European Commission, which respects above all the institutional and constitutional aspects of the Greek legislative framework of shipping". He noted that last year Greek-owned shipping agreed to extend its voluntary financial contribution for 2018, in order to help the country's fiscal targets to enable it to complete the relevant evaluation of the Greek programme imposed by European institutions.

He spoke of the qualitative presence of the Greek fleet worldwide, saying that "based on our know-how and our accumulated experience in fleet management, as well as the low average age of the fleet",

Veniamis noted shipping contributed EUR8.33bn to Greek coffers in the January - November 2017 period, up about 18% on the same 2016 period, remarking "it is obvious that after two years of capital controls, the import of shipping currency is gradually recovering to previous levels".

He said the UGS has proposed to redefine the operating system of vocational high schools so that graduates can, "under certain conditions", reach the level of the master and first engineer and through the proper implementation of this proposal, it will be possible to provide a professional outlet for young people and increase the number of Greek seafarers.

He also announced the UGS launched a liaison office in Brussels, 1 January, to represent Greek shipowners’ interests in the European Union’s capital.

Posted 13 February 2018

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David Glass

Greece Correspondent, Seatrade Maritime