The Minister of Shipping and Island Policy, Giannis Plakiotakis, announced the financing of 44 projects for the upgrading of port infrastructure on islands and 47 coastal lines, through multi-year contracts.
As the Minister stated, among other things, “we have prepared and are implementing a comprehensive plan for the implementation of critical projects and the provision of critical connections in the island and wider sea area of Greece. The institutionalization of the Integrated Maritime Policy in the island area and the specialization of the National Strategy for our islands, are already bearing fruit. “Resources of about 1 billion euros have been secured, which will be allocated for the coastal shipping and the ports of our islands, providing solutions to two critical issues concerning insularity: the adequate and quality coastal connections and the modern and safe port infrastructure”.
The planning of the Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy, utilizes national and European resources (NSRF 2021 – 2027, Recovery Fund), emphasizing two parallel directions: on the one hand in improving the interconnection of the islands, both with mainland Greece and between them, with increased security and reduced transport time and costs. On the other hand, in the upgrading of port infrastructure and the technological modernization of the ports, for the better and safer service of the passengers.
What planning includes
The planning of the Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy includes:
· 33 projects with a budget of 175,210,000 euros for upgrading port infrastructure on the islands, through the new NSRF 2021-2027, under the new Operational Program Infrastructure – Transport 2021-2027.
· Financing of projects, studies and interventions for the expansion, upgrade, maintenance and operation of port projects, interventions in land budget zones for the next 4 years up to 200,000,000 euros through the “NEARCHOS – Public works program” through the Deposits and Loans Fund.
· 11 projects totaling 20,000,000 euros, to address climate change and erosion in port infrastructure and facilities in island areas, through a special action which has been included in the National Plan for Recovery and Sustainability of Greece, with funding from the Recovery Fund.
· Financing of 44 coastal and interregional ferry lines with 370,000,000 euros, through multi-year contracts of 4 to 7 years and with incentives for renewal of the coastal shipping fleet, through the NSRF 2021-2027
· Financing of 3 lines of the central coastal network, with 300,000,000 euros, through the program “NEARCHOS – Public Maritime Transport Program”, in the framework of the National Strategy for the integrated maritime policy in the Island area, with obligation to launch new ships.
As pointed out in the announcement of the ministry, from 2019 until today, the so-called barren lines have increased significantly covering new routes, with an increase in the relevant expenditure to 138 million euros per year, from 90 million euros in 2018.
Also, in the midst of a pandemic, the Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy, with the approval of the EU, immediately adopted a mechanism for the minimum transport service of the island area and financed with 79 million euros the operation of the entire coastal shipping network of the country, which is expected to support depending on the course of the pandemic with an additional 26 million by the end of 2021.