Masoud Shakuri, in an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, added: In 2020, the Greek-owned fleet, with four percent growth, contributed about 14 billion euros to the Greek economy, but the strategic importance of Greek ships is in supplying energy to the European Union. According to the latest reports, about 58 percent of the energy needed by Europe reach countries of that continent from outside the Union via sea and by Greek ships.
He said: The latest published information shows that Greece has the largest shipping industry in the world. After Greece, there are Japan, China, Singapore, Germany, South Korea, Norway, America, England, and Denmark. In the European Union, Greece has the largest share of shipping and ship ownership; as such that Greece owns 58 percent of the fleet under the control of the European Union, and more than one-third of the fleet owned by Greece, that is to say, 1,706 ships, sail under the flag of the European Union.
Shakuri further added: For example, about 30 percent of all oil tankers in the world, about 15 percent of ships carrying chemicals, and about 16 percent of ships carrying liquefied gas are now located in Greece, which is a competitive advantage for this Mediterranean country compared to other European countries.
Referring to Greece’s investments in the field of energy, he said: Greece, with the support of the United States, is building several liquid gas terminals and floating gas storage and processing units in the country’s ports, including in Alexandroupolis, so that not long ago, the American ambassador in Greece, while visiting energy facility, said: The United States supports Greece’s pivotal role in redesigning the energy map of Southeast Europe, diversifying energy sources in cooperation with its Balkan neighbors, and helping to break Russia’s natural gas monopoly.
Shakuri added: Projects such as floating gas storage and processing terminals, the Greece-Bulgaria gas pipeline, the Greece-North Macedonia pipeline, the Alexandroupolis-Burgas oil pipeline project, and the connection of the Greek and Egyptian electrical grids, all contribute to the diversification of energy sources. Europe has helped and has the support of the United States in line with the strategy of cutting dependence on Russian energy sources.
The expert on international issues pointed to the decrease in Europe’s energy imports from Russia and said: Europeans have reduced their dependence on Russian gas by importing liquefied gas from the US, mainly through Greece. While the European Union imported about 300 million tons of energy products from Russia in 2021, this amount has decreased to less than half after the war in Ukraine.