Stay up to date
Subscribe to DirectFerries email
Loading...
Invalid Email
You have been added to the directferries.co.uk mailing list.
The email address entered already exists

Greek ferry owners vent anger over ticket levies

Date: 12 Jun 2009 00:00 Source: Lloyds List

Greece's ferry owners are poised to take legal action against the Greek government in a further bid to force it to throw off shackles that the industry says are threatening to squeeze it out of existence.

The Association of Greek Coastal Shipping Companies has decided to instruct legal counsel “in order to speed up” the full implementation by Greece of European Union Council regulation 3577/92 regarding freedom to provide maritime transport services.

“This has been our core issue for the coastal shipping sector and will provide an overall improvement in the services rendered, and create a highly competitive sector,” said association president Apostolos Ventouris. He described a number of the government’s levies and outdated laws applied to ferry services as “appalling”.

According to the association, the state receives annual income of up to $175m solely from indirect mandatory taxes, representing 33%-43% of fares.

“These charges on all of the tickets halt the ability of all companies to implement competitive practices, further decreasing the total traffic transported in Greece, especially during the current period of financial unrest,” Mr Ventouris said.

The levies included VAT of 9% on passenger fares and 19% on vehicles, port taxes of 5%, a tax linked to public service route subsidies and a mandatory 6.5% passenger and vehicle insurance charge paid to the national seafarers’ pension fund.

The latter represented double charging, Mr Ventouris claimed, as companies were obliged to have P&I coverage. This was was “completely unacceptable and not what it was originally introduced for”.

Operators remained burdened with port charges for luggage carriers and tenders shuttling passengers between vessel and shore, even though both services had not existed since the 1970s, he said.

Indirect costs the industry is complaining about include rigid manning criteria that do not accord with vessels.

“My own company has a vessel that was routed in France with a [safe manning] crew of 17, whereas in Greece the union of seafarers demanded the vessel have a total of 34 crew members,” said Mr Ventouris, who heads NEL Lines.

“The particular vessel is a high-speed craft that does not have a galley. It is unbelievable, but our company was obliged to hire cooks. All the ships are overstaffed by 80%-100%, which is unheard of anywhere else in the world,” he said.

Another cause of the industry’s ire is “outdated” legislation requiring continual service for seven and a half months for fast ferries and 10 months for conventional ferries, with minimum 10-month employment spells for crew.

“No one has even thought about the effect on the companies, the environment or even the seafarers.

“Even the hotels in the destinations the ships travel to are closed,” Mr Ventouris said. “Can you imagine the waste of energy this creates, not to mention the pollution?”

Mr Ventouris said it was imperative to apply European Union rules: “It will immediately and dramatically lower the cost of all ferry tickets for all passengers, which in turn should increase traffic. Thus, coastal shipping companies will be able to increase revenue and profits due to the economies of scale achieved,” he said.

More Ferry News from directferries.co.uk

Save up to 20% on Dover - France ferries!
Date: 02 March 2015 Source: DFDS Seaways & P&O Ferries

Travel across the Channel with DFDS Seaways or P&O Ferries this year and save up to 20% on your ferry ticket when you book with directferries.co.uk!

Get great ferry deals up to 15th March with National Ferry Fortnight
Date: 28 February 2015 Source: NFF

National Ferry Fortnight is now underway and during the next 2 weeks you will find some great ferry deals travelling with all of the major ferry operators including Brittany Ferries, Irish Ferries, MyFerryLink, P&O Ferries and Stena Line when you book your ticket at Direct Ferries.

Save up to 20% on ferries to Holland with DFDS Seaways!
Date: 28 February 2015 Source: DFDS Seaways

Take your car across the North Sea with DFDS Seaways and save up to 20% on your ferry crossing when you book with directferries.co.uk!

Kids eat free & free fare upgrades with MyFerryLink
Date: 28 February 2015 Source: MyFerryLink

Celebrate National Ferry Fortnight with MyFerryLink and make the most of some great discounts when you book by 15th March at directferries.co.uk!

Half price club class upgrades with P&O Ferries
Date: 28 February 2015 Source: P&O Ferries

Book your ferry ticket to France, Holland, Belgium, Scotland or Northern Ireland travelling any time in 2015 with P&O Ferries and upgrade to Club Class for half the usual price when you book your ticket during National Ferry Fortnight (over the next 2 weeks) at directferries.co.uk!

Kids & pets go free to Holland
Date: 28 February 2015 Source: Stena Line

Sail any time in 2015 on the Harwich Hook of Holland route with Stena Line and kids, pets and bicycles can travel FREE saving you up to £120 return - just book your crossing during National Ferry Fortnight (over next 2 weeks) at directferries.co.uk!

Take an extra passenger for free between the UK & Ireland
Date: 28 February 2015 Source: Irish Ferries & Stena Line

Take an additional passenger for free between the UK and Ireland with Stena Line and Irish Ferries when you book your ticket during National Ferry Fortnight (over the next 2 weeks) and travel any time up to January 2016.

Kids go free to France with Brittany Ferries
Date: 28 February 2015 Source: Brittany Ferries

Get your family holiday off to a great start by taking advantage of Brittany Ferries special family ferry offer to celebrate National Ferry Fortnight when you book your ticket by 17th March at directferries.co.uk

Save 20% on ferries across the Irish Sea with P&O Ferries!
Date: 27 February 2015 Source: P&O Ferries

Travel across the Irish Sea with P&O Ferries this month and save 20% on your ferry ticket when you book with directferries.co.uk!

Barcelona – Ibiza ferries from just €45 each way!
Date: 26 February 2015 Source: Trasmediterranea

Travel with Trasmediterranea to Ibiza this summer from as little as €45 per person each way when you book with directferries.co.uk!

© Direct Ferries Ltd