The Greek merchant marine sector is at a critical juncture. For years it has been largely an offshore venture, virtually tax-free. It has been financed through a combination of the personal wealth of shipowners and high levels of debt offered by banks prepared to accept the risk of lending on vessels in order to secure the other business of these high net worth individuals. In recent years, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Commission have been moving to curb offshore activity. Since 1999, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) has been working towards introducing new capital adequacy rules for banks which will make shipowners’ borrowing a much more expensive proposition.”

The June 2002 issue of Greek Business File hosts a Special Survey on Greek Shipping by Robert McDonald on

– the regulatory environment

– financing and rates

– cargo transport

– coastal shipping and

– medium term prospects

The June 2002 issue of Greek Business File is available here.