Greek shipping is facing a historic challenge in looking forward, that of becoming "green", Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Monday in the opening address of the Posidonia International Shipping Exhibition at the Athens' Metropolitan Exhibition Center.
"We are now called upon to return to a shipping sector that will gradually turn energy neutral," Mitsotakis said, "and yes, progress has been made, as a greener fleet relates to the protection of the environment and, beyond that, to a significant investment opportunity."
The PM said he had addressed a letter to the European Commission president to request that shipping becomes a European priority. Europe, and particularly its bureaucracy, he stressed, "has to understand that Greek-owned ships have a significant advantage that will contribute to its strategic autonomy." Greek-owned shipping helps maintain the global supply chain, particularly in the EU, he said, while green shipping "will protect our sea and air."
In addition, current developments including the war in Ukraine calls on shipping to contribute to stability in the world, just as shipping is also key to another issue, the transport of natural gas, he added. Greek shipping "serves as a protection to irrational price increases that derail state and family budgets - a new challenge for Greek-owned ships transporting liquefied natural gas (LNG)," he noted.
Referring to the Alexandroupolis LNG station, the expansion of Revythoussa facilities, and the development of pipelines and power networks, Mitsotakis said "Greece is becoming an energy gateway to all of Europe and a critical hub of the Southeast Mediterranean," as 90% of global trade is transported by sea. The war in Ukraine has urgently brought to the forefront the issue of green transition, as an issue with a deeply geopolitical aspect, he noted.
Mitsotakis then called on shipowners to "not simply the worthy Greek captains and seamen, but Greek shipbuilders as well. This will benefit all of us - Europe, seagoing trade, coastal shipping, local communities, and the environment." He added, "There is no healthy shipping without a healthy society. In this new vista, the winner will be Greece, which once again will hoist on its ships the flag of progress and green upgrade."
Posidonia will continue to June 10, and organizers said they expected a total of at least 1,929 companies from 88 countries as exhibitors, including 24 national pavilions from Europe, North America and Asia. Over 18,000 international visitors were expected to the fair, including vice presidents and ministers of maritime nations and the EU's Commissioner for Transport. In addition, this year's expo will include over 30 tech startups showcasing their digital-first solutions to industry challenges and problems.