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Charalampos Simantonis:

The European Union’s strategic policy was unfolded in 2019 and since then the maritime industry has been facing new challenges, making great efforts to become even more sustainable, accommodating the upcoming Regulations.

Charalampos Simantonis, President, Hellenic Shortsea  Shipowners Association
Charalampos Simantonis, President, Hellenic Shortsea Shipowners Association

However, the discussed measures are not applicable at present time, due to lack of alternative fuels; Maritime sector is not yet ready to use them. Despite the improvement in technologies for the production of greener fuels, they are still under consideration, testing, development and creation of associated infrastructure is still on-going and they are not yet readily available.

Therefore, 2023 will be another year of uncertainty considering the technologies that could be adopted in shipbuilding.

Moreover, for the first time in more than 80 years, we are facing a war in our territory. Maritime transport infrastructure and services are under pressure due to the need for alternative trade routes for Ukrainian goods. The tone of the global trading and shipping environment has been characterised by uncertainty as a result. As long as there is an ongoing war in Ukraine the risk for all vessels will remain high and higher risks unfortunately lead to additional uncertainty for carriers.

Uncertainty is always the enemy of investment; therefore if the war doesn’t end during 2023 the industry will continue facing higher freight rates, disruption of regional logistics, halted port operations in Ukraine, the destruction of infrastructure, trade restrictions, increased insurance costs and higher fuel prices as causes of issues within the Black Sea region.

However, we shouldn’t overlook that the maritime sector is already embracing innovation and will definitely manage to align with all new regulations; diverting challenges to opportunities, taking into consideration that even within the existing uncertainty, many new vessels have already adopted new technologies using dual fuels.

It is an exciting time and one of much opportunity for the maritime sector, while the industry is going to be able to apply current and future technologies and achieve environmentally acceptable and commercially sustainable outcomes.


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