Statement by the President of the Union of Greek Shipowners, Mr T Veniamis:
The new record participation at Posidonia, a timeless institution of international standing, certifies that Greece, as a traditional maritime power, can and should remain the heart of international shipping, which is intertwined with global progress and prosperity. Likewise, Greek shipping can and should continue to contribute to the national and European economy whilst maintaining its competitiveness on the face of recent misguided policies of the European Commission at the risk of causing a flight, not only of the Greek-owned fleet, but also of the wider European fleet, outside the European Union with relocation to more welcoming international shipping centers. Perhaps it is appropriate to bear always in mind the fact that shipping carries more than 90% of world trade and the importance of this fact.
Posidonia 2016 take place in a particularly challenging period for the shipping industry worldwide. Shipping has overcome in the past difficult situations and transitions and has always found the way to survival and recovery; a way that is so much needed by the national, European and global economy, as indeed mirrored by shipping activities.
Related figures allow us to be cautiously optimistic about Greek shipping, which is a strong driving force for the economic development of our country, representing a significant percentage of GDP, providing thousands of jobs ashore and on board and carrying out over time social and humanitarian projects throughout the country.
Within a tough economic international environment, Greek shipping proved once again its traditional, strong resilience and ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Its fleet amounts to 4,585 vessels, representing about 20% of total world capacity in deadweight and 50% of the European Union fleet. Both figures indicate an upward trend compared to previous years.
Posidonia 2016 provide the opportunity to further promote the policy approach, which has been a cornerstone of Greek shipping, of forging alliances with key commercial and shipping partners in international maritime affairs and to set higher common objectives for the maritime sector. A policy approach which the Union of Greek Shipowners has served with success and tangible results for a hundred years, as in 2016 the UGS celebrates a century of existence since its establishment in 1916. A journey of one hundred years, which proves the importance of collectively defending the institutional interests of our shipping community.
Finally, Posidonia, the celebration of the maritime industry, also provide a unique opportunity for presentation at all levels of the pinnacles of technological and other applications, the adoption of which responds to competing demands for high standard maritime transport services.