Message From The President Of The Union of Greek Shipowners

POSIDONIA 2010 : A steady course for the future The leading role of Greek-owned shipping is once more demonstrated in the panorama of Posidonia Exhibition 2010. An institution of international reputation providing the shipping industry with a platform to exhibit its achievements and the wide range of services it offers to international trade and the world economy. It is not a coincidence that this impressive gathering has been hosted successfully for four decades in Greece, a nation with a great maritime tradition and an impressive shipping presence. Neither is it a coincidence that the exhibition this year will be honoured by the presence of 1,800 exhibitors from 85 countries and will be visited by more than 17,000 Greek and foreign industry professionals and governmental officials. Posidonia 2010 finds Greek shipping in the midst of a dire crisis affecting the whole planet and demanding the fullest mobilization of maritime know-how and experience in order to safeguard its position now and in the future. Its resilience so far justifies some optimism that, barring unexpected and further negative developments, Greek flag and Greek-owned shipping will maintain the size and high quality of the fleet (with an average age 11.6 years) and its important participation in world tonnage (i.e. 14.8%) and that the Greek flag will maintain its premier position in the European Union flag fleet. The ongoing cautious orders for new vessels justify the prospect of an even more modern and competitive fleet in the near future. During the last years, the operation of Greek-owned ocean shipping has continued the tendency for closer links with Greece. In particular, 1,300 shipping companies are established in Greece and this results in an increase of the direct or indirect posts of employment with satisfactory remuneration. It is also noteworthy that shipping is the only sector of the national economy that did not contribute to unemployment despite the most adverse circumstances and offers new career paths for youngsters through the systematic campaign for attraction to the seafaring profession. In parallel, despite the above mentioned adverse conditions, the foreign exchange earnings from ocean going shipping services were substantial. In 2009, these amounted to € 13.5 billion compared to € 19.2 billion in 2008, the expected reduction being due to the economic crisis. Moreover, the Greek shipping community continued to contribute significantly to the EU and international debates on issues affecting the present and future of shipping. For instance, the proliferation of piracy attacks against merchant vessels but also the international discussions on the contribution of shipping to the reduction of air pollution. Last but not least, efforts were exerted to promote the recognition of the strategic role of Greek shipping as a commercial partner for Europe and the West. The first decade of the 21st century finds Greek shipping fully engaged in the very competitive arena of international maritime transport in order to safeguard its achievements and to create the conditions for further improvements, an objective which is a source of optimism for the future of Greece. Theodore Veniamis