No nation has ever been so much successful in maritime industry as this nation. Today 95 % goods are carried through ships and shipping magnate from this nation owns 23% of the world bulk carriers.
|95% of merchant goods are carried through ships|
The fleet belonging to wealthy of this nation is valued at 105 billion dollars, according to vesselvalues.com. The combined value of global fleet of vessels is 680.4 billion dollars. Hence the maritime nation owns 15.43% worth of global fleet.
The maritime nation is no other than Greek, who have been fighting severe debt crisis since 2009. Severe Government debt crisis has caused many Greeks to lose their jobs. The unemployment rate is as high as 25.40% for February 2015. But the families involved in shipping business are spending as if there were no crisis.
Ship owning business is part of Greek culture. Owing to mountainous landscape, limited availability of farming land and extended coastline, Greek, at an earlier stage, turned to maritime business. Furthermore Greece, being situated at crossroads of ancient sea lanes in eastern Mediterranean and proximity of other advanced civilizations helped Greek succeed in this business. New evidence suggest that since ancient times wine, oil and honey were traded, as well as fruit, fish, meat and resin by Greek ship owners.
The majority of these maritime companies are run by families with a long tradition in shipping.
There are 800-900 families involved in this business, leading among them are Onassis, Niarchos, Evgenidis, Latsis, Lemos, Laskaridis, Pateras, and Tsakos families.
Today constitutional protection related to taxation provided to ship owners and geographical factors led the ship-owning families to live like landed aristocrats of medieval times. Like aristocratic families ship-owning families have their own family culture, and a thrust to protect their status in Greek society. These families often inter-marry thus multiplying power and wealth of these families.
These 800-900 families, involved in Ship-owning business, own slightly more than 4000 vessels. Hence per family average ownership comes to 4.7 vessels. Families in Greece along with Spain and Italy are more cohesive than many other European counterparts. Hence the help and support from family is also an important factor in the success of Greece's maritime business.
These rich families, although are accused of not doing enough for Greece; especially during the time of crisis, are also involved in philanthropy. Foundations bearing the names of the rich maritime families like Onassis foundation are highly involved in charity.