Piraeus tipped to be world's number 2 in ten years time

Greece's shipping companies see the port of Piraeus as being the second most important maritime center in the world in ten years time, ahead of London and Hong Kong, according to report from Ernst and Young.

Along with tourism, shipping is a major export revenue raiser for Greece, contributing 6.5% to annual economic output, with most companies operating out of the port area, though many also prefer the southern Athens coast and other parts of the capital.

The report, titled " Repositioning Greece as a global maritime capital", surveyed leading members of Greece's shipping community and found that over coming years, competition among the major global maritime centers will intensify with Asia cementing its role in global trade.

"As the shift of global trade towards the Far East continues, it is very likely that, in the next twenty years, none of the top maritime capitals of the world will be located in Europe.," the report said.

"London, Hamburg, Oslo and Rotterdam, each with its own strong competitive advantages, are struggling to emerge as the leading maritime center within Europe. Greece (Piraeus) will need to work hard if it is to retain or strengthen its standing as a maritime capital in the world," it added.

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Just over seven in ten respondents believe that Singapore will be the world's number one maritime center in a decade, with 49% saying Athens, followed by Dubai (31%), London (24%) and Hong Kong (18%).

The Piraeus shipping cluster counts a total of 3,273 enterprises operating in shipping-related business sectors, the report said, adding that 118 shipping form the Thessaloniki shipping cluster in the country's north.