Amid one of the worst crises in the history of the European Union, the Greek government secured a new agreement with its creditors, which undoubtedly raised confidence in Greek society. Helena Athoussaki*, Chief Strategist and CEO of IMAREM, writes:
Greek shipping plays an important role in the context of Greece’s economy shipping while its merchant fleet is one of the biggest globally; it makes up 7, 5% of the Greek economy and employs around 200, 000 people.
Discussions on whether the shipping sector should be taxed more heavily or not are continuing with several ship-owners having already stated openly that in such a case they will simply move their operations outside Greece. Such a move will undoubtedly damage domestic maritime companies that offer significant services to Greek ship-owners.
Arguably therefore taxing such a crucial business sector at this point in time might prove to be risky.
Instead of looking into increasing the tax burden in shipping, Greece can seek ways to support domestic companies, which develop competent and innovative maritime products and services important for Greece’s economic growth.
Promoting investments in Greek maritime companies is another way of raising tax revenue from maritime activities without putting extra financial burden to ship-owners.
Greece has a very competent maritime service market supported by high-qualified personnel, strong technical and R&D expertise, as well as innovative initiatives, which strive to raise their presence in the international maritime arena.
Being successful businessmen but also patriotic, Greek ship-owners can help Greece’s struggling economy by capitalising on the country’s maritime knowledge, experience and expertise.
In challenging times, domestic maritime companies have proven to be responsive and always supportive of the shipping industry, something that might not be the case for large multinational firms.
With the latest example, the new EU Regulation on Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) of shipping emissions, an area where Greek maritime companies have an established track record and can provide full package solutions to ship-owners.
In that manner, tax revenue from maritime activities will be raised (since domestic companies pay taxes domestically), and there will be more room for the development of new innovative initiatives, more employment opportunities will arise, while shipping’s contribution to the country’s GDP will rise.
* Helena Athoussaki | Chief Strategist and CEO
Helena brings many years strategic experience on energy and sustainability. At an early stage, Helena had foreseen that ship owners will experience strong environmental pressure on emissions and energy efficiency. Having worked on research and strategy for large ITC corporations but also having gained a wide experience in several sustainability and environmental projects, Helena shaped the first Energy and Emissions management programme for ships. A holistic approach that provides 3rd party monitoring, reporting and certification helping companies to cut energy cost and gain a competitive advantage. The concept is now expanding into organisations, supply chain, products and services.
Helena is a key expert on climate change and environmental strategy for shipping and ports. She has an extensive knowledge in energy and carbon management, she is an active speaker in a wide variety of shipping conferences and associations, while she has been involved in various proposals, presentations and studies for the IMO and the EU. Helena is a member of the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA).
Helena holds executive degrees from the London Business School in Finance and Accounting, Hedge Funds, Mergers & Acquisitions and in Private Equity from the Said Business School in Oxford. Helena also gained an MBA from ALBA as well as an MA from the University of Middlesex in London.