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Govt decision makers need to value shipping’s key role: UGS

Photo: UGS Melina_Travlou_UGS.JPG
Melina Travlou, President of UGS
Be it war, pandemics or other global disruptions, it is shipping that links the world, allowing for the smooth flow of vital goods, and the link that keeps the global economy ticking, declared Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) President Melina Travlou.

In her preamble to UGS annual report  2022 -  2023, she said: “Shipping is essential for the smooth functioning of nation states and their economies. It contributes to the survival and livelihood, as well as the symbiosis of nations worldwide, transporting 90% of global trade. It is the most cost-effective means of transport, due to its economies of scale and the efficiencies it has achieved. 

“It performs this task, both in terms of operations and geographic coverage, with a surprising small carbon footprint, emitting about 2% of global carbon dioxide emissions. Shipping is an irreplaceable part of the global economy,” declared Travlou.

The annual report provides an in-depth analysis of the most important developments in the maritime sector as well as relevant statistics and data which emphasise the crucial role of Greek shipping at a national, European and global level.

According to the report Greece continues to be the world's largest shipping country, with Greek shipowners controlling 21% of the global tonnage with a total of 5,520 ships.

The UGS says the importance of Greek shipping is even more significant for the European Union, as Greek interests control more than 70% of the EU-controlled fleet for the types of vessels of strategic importance. The Greek-owned fleet contributes drastically to ensuring the food security and energy autonomy of the European Union.

Further, the UGS points out the Greek shipping community invests heavily in new, more advanced ships and technologies which improve efficiency and minimise the industry's environmental footprint. 

Within the EU, 60% of the EU-controlled fleet is controlled by Greek interests. “Although not often acknowledged, shipping, and by extension Greek shipping, secures supply chain resilience, food security, energy autonomy, prosperity and growth for the EU, to say nothing of the potential geopolitical influence”, said Travlou. 

She continued: “In an environment of fast flowing information and disinformation, it is vital that society as a whole and especially decision makers at national, European and international levels, not only recognise but also value shipping’s key role.”

Travlou said it is imperative the UGS reaches out to and holistically informs, society, legislators and institutions, of our positions, and the reasons for said positions.

“Shipping and its role in global trade cannot be effective unless the concerned parties have a sound understanding of the multi-layered services shipping offers in all circumstances, whether it be at times of peace, conflict or other unforeseen events. It is our priority to ensure that not only the European but also the international regulatory and legislative framework contribute to shipping’s progress and that they do not lead to false dawns and market distortions. Universally applicable and viable legislation is imperative,” said the UGS President. 

Speaking about Greek shipping at national level Travlou said, “our main objectives are twofold: the enhancement and development of our seamanship and of our national registry”.

“Our competitive advantage is based on our human resources both onboard and ashore. In order to grow further, our sector needs well-trained human capital. Continued corporate and national investment in this regard is vital. Maritime education needs to be modernised.”