Posidonia 2024 is set to mark the rebirth of the Greek shipbuilding industry, with over 85 shipyards from 26 countries already confirmed to showcase their vessel design and production innovations from June 3-7.

Significantly, Greece’s revitalised shipbuilding industry will be prominently represented during this event, signalling a strong recovery after decades of decline. This resurgence is evidenced by the consolidation of the country’s shipbuilding units in Syros and Elefsina, coupled with the restart of the Skaramangas shipyard and increased activity in Halkida.

Indeed, Neorion Shipyard in Syros and Elefsis Shipyard have impressively repaired over 500 ships, both foreign and Greek-owned, since the takeover by the New York-based ONEX Shipyards and Technologies group in 2019. This activity, along with further domestic output from other ship repair and shipbuilding operations, positions Greece as a key contributor to the European shipyards’ annual production value, which stands at around €43 billion.

Theodore Vokos, Managing Director of Posidonia Exhibitions S.A., said, “Greece is resurfacing as a credible shipbuilding cluster for vessel repair, conversion, and potentially for the construction of newbuildings for Greek and international shipowners and naval forces. This revival follows decades of underperformance and underinvestment, marked by the absence of a strategic vision.”

Furthermore, through a series of strategic partnerships and multimillion investments, Greek shipyard operators and the government are demonstrating a long-term commitment to this sector, which is estimated to currently account for 1 per cent of the nation’s GDP. These endeavours will likely fortify both the country’s economy and security. Such partnerships will include naval projects, highlighting discussions between the Greek government and the US regarding the joint design and co-production of the new generation of Constellation frigates.

In the lead-up to Skaramangas Shipyards’ notable return to the Posidonia Exhibition, newly appointed Chairman Miltiadis Varvitsiotis expressed ambitious plans to transform the facility into a multi-million contract-winning operation.

He said, “Since 2010, the shipyard was exclusively involved in the repair, maintenance, and upgrade of the Hellenic Navy’s fleet. Now, with new ownership and management, we are ready to present our world-class infrastructure and state-of-the-art equipment for heavy and specialised repairs. We are going to promote our plans and explore the possibilities of undertaking important and sophisticated new building projects.”

To realise this vision, the company intends to leverage its existing infrastructure, which includes some of the largest drydocks in the Mediterranean, capable of accommodating VLCC, LNG carriers, and aircraft carriers. Skaramangas has focused on the gradual upgrading of facilities, enhancing fire safety, and reviving a large tank that had been inactive for two decades.

In a parallel effort, Greek shipyards are investing to enhance their competitiveness, particularly for Greek shipowners who contribute significantly to the local ship repair and new build activity.

The ONEX group has outlined a business plan that entails investments worth $550 million to increase repair operations. Panos Xenokostas, President & CEO of ONEX, said, “Our goal is to transform the historic shipyards into a modern maritime hub for the greater Mediterranean region. We aspire for both Elefsis and Syros Shipyards to become the first choice of those seeking quality, speed, and personalised service, while adhering to relevant security protocols and always taking into consideration the transition to a sustainable maritime model.”

Similarly, Chalkis Shipyard is focusing on sustainability, investing in photovoltaic systems to meet its energy needs and those of the vessels it services, while expanding its newbuilding capabilities. Ashraf Bayoumi, CEO of Chalkis Shipyards, highlighted the yard’s progress, “In addition, we have trained our personnel and keep investing in a skilled workforce who can install green energy systems like scrubbers and new technology propulsion systems on vessels. In the last years, we have completed the installation of scrubbers in a number of vessels,” showcasing the company’s commitment to environmental and technological advancements.

Investor interest in the Greek shipbuilding sector is notably high, as evidenced by recent acquisitions and significant financial commitments, which underline the sector’s potential catalyzed by Greece’s strategic location and rich maritime heritage.

The adoption of new technologies, including Artificial Intelligence, Green Energy, and Automation Innovations, is rapidly advancing within Greek shipyards, enhancing productivity and competitiveness. These developments are setting the stage for a transformative era in Greek shipbuilding, as the sector not only boosts the national economy but also contributes to the green transition and strengthens Greece’s geopolitical standing through significant international projects.

Posidonia 2024 is organised under the auspices of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs & Insular Policy, the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping, and the Union of Greek Shipowners, and with the support of the Municipality of Piraeus and the Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee.