ATHENS – Greece’s ships have long ruled the world waves behind its oligarchs, but Greek shipbuilding has not, its dormant state set to be turned around in a reopening that’s seen as helping the European Union maritime technology sector too.
That was the sense from Hellenic Marine Equipment Manufacturers and Exports (HEMEXPO) President Eleni Polychronopoulou in an industry long dominated by Asian shipbuilders.
With the imminent reopening of two major shipyards in Greece, Skaramanga and Elefsina, she said that, “The shipbuilding sector in Greece is in a period of revival, and this creates new opportunities for equipment manufacturers not only in Greece but throughout Europe to work with major players in international shipping,” reported Gcaptain.
“Shipowners, in turn, benefit from access to the innovative, high-quality and cost-effective solutions that Greek manufacturers – and HEMEXPO members especially – are renowned for,” she said.
The group is made of up manufacturers working closely with operators, shipyards, classification societies and the entire maritime supply chain, poised to try to return Greek shipbuilding to status.
Skaramanga and Elefsina will perform repair and refit works, along with specific New Building with a particular focus on equipping vessels for more sustainable operations, she also said.
“The range of products and applications in which our members specialize is broad, but today there is a special emphasis on sustainability,” she said of its diversity and range among its advantages.
“Examples include friction-reducing hull coatings, energy-efficient lighting, sensors that monitor operations and provide recommendations to boost efficiency, shore connection technology for emissions-free port stays and carbon capture systems that promise significant reductions in vessel emissions,” she added.
SEA Europe, the Shipyards’ and Maritime Equipment Association of Europe has called for the maritime sector to be involved in the Green Deal it said would make European Union shipbuilding competitive with China and South Korea.
She said among the proposals are “tax breaks for shipyards and marine equipment manufacturers, flexibility in the application of the OECD Guidelines on financing ship exports, the strengthening of the EU regulation on maritime cabotage and the drafting of guidelines on state aid in maritime transport.”
Greater support will also be needed in addressing the maritime workforce shortage, a particular problem in Greece where she said that, “a large percentage of young people are choosing other sectors, leaving us lacking in specialized personnel.”
HEMEXPO plans to develop a programme to attract new recruits – primarily technicians, automation electricians and sales engineers – by combining educational opportunities with compensation and bonus-based incentives for staying in the industry.
“The revival of Greek shipbuilding is a promising development, and if the maritime technology sector can secure the financial and regulatory backing it needs, the outlook for the wider European market will be overwhelmingly positive,” she said.
The US International Development Finance Corporation’s (DFC) participation in Elefsis Shipyards is now at $125 million, Development and Investments Minister Adonis Georgiadis had said earlier.