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Greek ferry companies increase tickets by 6% due to IMO sulfur regulation

Some of the biggest Greek ferries companies increased the prices of the tickets by 6% on Wednesday, January 8, claiming that they are trying to cope with the rising transportation cost due to the new fuels regulation that limit sulfur content.

According to the ferry companies, the new regulation by the International Maritime organization (IMO) limits the sulfur content by 25% thus leading to cost increase of the shipping transport. The new regulation went into effect since 1. January 2020 with the aim at cleaning up sulphur emissions, which can cause acid rain and other forms of air pollution.

The IMO reportedly estimates that the new limit – of 0.5% sulfur content compared with the previous limit of 3.5%, enforced under the international convention for the prevention of pollution from ships – will cut sulfur oxide emissions from ships by 77%, an annual reduction of about 8.5m tonnes

The price per tonne of new 0.5% sulfur fuel according to the last days data was close to 575 EUR / tonne when the ship burned by 31/12/2019 (3.5% sulfur) was at 450 euros a ton, local media report.

The ferry companies have already informed the Competition Committee and the Ministry of Maritime about the increase in ticket prices.

In order to avoid any increase in ticket prices, ferry operators are demanding a reduction of Value Added Tax on ferry tickets which is currently at 24%.

The issue has been raised by the Minister of Maritime to the Ministry of Finance, however, there has been not any specific development so far.

An alternative for the shipping industry is the installation of “scrubbers” on vessels. These “scrubbers” or gas purifiers remove sulfur, though some of this is then released into the sea as effluent.

According to Greek media, some ferry companies have already or are likely to start fitting “scrubbers” to the vessels, but this is a costly solution as the cost of installing such a system is around € 5million for each ship.

The first ferry company that has installed all of its vessels in the field of flue gas purifiers is the Minoan Lines. The process was completed on KNOSSOS PALACE, FESTOS PALACE and MYKONOS PALACE ships. The Attica Group, which is active in passenger shipping in Greece and abroad via SUPERFAST FERRIES, BLUE STAR FERRIES, HELLENIC SEAWAYS and AFRICA MOROCCO LINK, will soon be fitting scrubbers in some of its 31 vessels in total, media report.

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