Greece should itself shape the conditions that allow its effective transformation into an integrated freight center and a European gateway for transport, by developing a national strategy in this field and exploiting all its potential by providing support services, an EY survey said.
The report noted that the transport sector is one of the most important sectors of the Greek economy and an important source of income and jobs, since it represents 10.85 pct of the country’s GDP valued at 19.8 billion euros. Maritime transport plays a key role both in international trade and in the development of the world economy, as more than 80% of world trade is transported by sea. In 2015, the value of EU trade in goods with non-EU countries transported by sea accounted for about 51 pct of total EU trade.
The survey noted that Greece’s geographic location in the Eastern Mediterranean provided a competitive transit route for Europe’s maritime trade with Asia as the transit time of a container ship from China to Piraeus was estimated to last 8-9 days less, compared to other ports in northern Europe.
In 2013, the port of Piraeus was connected to the main national rail network via a high-speed electric railway line.
Additionally, COSCO has co-operated with the national railway company TrainOSE to develop reliable and competitive rail freight services towards the most important logistics centers in Central Europe. This has led to the development of a competitive alternative link with Far East ports compared to North European ports in terms of transport time, service frequency and cost.
The survey also pointed out that the expected privatisation of the port of Thessaloniki will improve the international competitiveness of Greece’s second largest port. The development of the Logistics Center in the Gonou area, on an area of 672,000 sq.m. near the port of Thessaloniki, is also expected to strengthen the country’s presence in the transport sector in the Balkans.
The survey pointed out that Greece is the seat of the largest shipowners’ community in the world, and has developed into a world-renowned shipping center that offers diversified shipping services.