Gelina Harlaftis’ Greek Shipowners and Greece: 1945-1975 From Separate Development to Mutual Interdependence (2015) outlines   the   basic structure of the Greek shipping firms, analyzes the Greek shipowners’ ties  to  the   rest  of  the Greek economy, as well as the specific problem and policy dilemmas that are associated with these ties as the ship-owners land-based diversification created artificial monopolies that are poorly integrated with the  local  economy.

As M. Stephen Salmon stresses in International Journal of Maritime History, commenting on Harlaftis’ Oxford D. Phil Thesis (1993) on which “Greek Shipowners and Greece” is based the Greek state has  followed  an  internationalist shipping policy to a profitable shipping sector. With this goal in mind, various post-war governments have not intervened in shipping except   to   foster   a   low-cost business environment. The major only departure from this practice has been a repatriation policy, which was designed to attract Greek-owned flag-of-convenience vessel back  to Greek registry. Harlaftis argues that most of the measures enacted to foster this  were  at best irrelevant and at worst deprived the country of much-needed revenue  by  allowing ship-owners to operate virtually tax-free. …The only successful Greek government intervention in shipping  was the development of a modern infrastructure at Piraeus Port after 1967. The port was gradually transformed from a local backwater into an international shipping centre.

The reasons for the Greek Shipping’s enormous expansion after the Second World War have been the subject of considerable debate and the net benefits to Greece – as distinct from the welfare of individual entrepreneurs – have also been the focus of discussion. The book provides a thorough account of this perplexed but extraordinary story while the body of data presented and analyzed makes it possible to form an informed historical view of Greek preeminence in sea transport.

Gelina Harlaftis is Professor of Maritime History in the Department of History at the Ionian University, Corfu, Greece.  She was President of the International Association of Maritime Economic History during the period 2004-2008. Her last publications are The World’s Key Industry: The History and Economics of International Shipping (2012), with Stig Tenold and Jesus Valdaliso; and Merchant ‘Colonies’ in the Early Modern Period (15th – 18th Centuries) (2012), with Viktor Zakharov and Olga Katsiardi-Hering.

Read more: Greek Shipowners and Greece@Google Books; Gelina Harlaftis: Papers. Books, Research Projects; Gelina Harlaftis: The Onassis global shipping business: 1920s–1950s; Review of Gelina Harlaftis’ Published D. Phil Thesis (1996)

See also: Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee: Annual Report 2014-2015; Greek Shipping Hall of Fame; Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide; Posidonia Shipping Exhibition 2016

Gelina Harlaftis on the Greek Shipping and the Aegean Sea (in Greek with English subtitles: