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The Greek paradox

Athens > Moscow

The Greek paradox

2 Jul 2018 Athens > Moscow

by David Couliau

Giant potential

Despite the sunny weather and endless blue skies, Greece faces major challenges.

In Katerini, Savvidis manages Savvidis Transport International, a family business, founded by his father and where he works with his brother. Although they only own 15 trucks, a small fleet by European standards, this is considered to be a big company in Greece. Most transport businesses have no more than two trucks.

This is puzzling at first because Greece seems to have so much potential. Full of giant cranes and containers, Piraeus is one of the Mediterranean’s biggest ports. Along with tourism, transport is one of the nation’s two largest industries due to its strategic location in Europe.

Tough challenges

The problems stem from the fallout of the economic crisis, when the country went bankrupt. Since then, it’s been almost impossible for the industry to make investments and grow because banks are afraid to lend and there are increasing regulatory burdens. This is truly a shame, because in contrast to many of its neighbouring countries, its road infrastructure, highways and rest areas are modern. 

The country has also shown leadership in pushing ahead with e-CMR – the digital consignment note – hosting a national pilot transport last year and putting the focus on the Balkan region for innovation in logistics operations.

Although the challenges on the ground are extremely frustrating for entrepreneurs like Savvidis, he remains proud of his job and hopeful that things will get better.

Boris Blanche, Managing Director, IRU

« Greece took the lead last year when it hosted the pilot project and a two-day event in Thessaloniki. The event focused on digitalisation and the new wave of technology in logistics operations that is reshaping the industry. Digital transport operations provide the vital infrastructure for many of the transformative technologies in mobility that promise to re-shape the way people and goods move across the planet. e-CMR is part of this strategic groundwork for the approaching revolution in transport. We encourage leaders in the industry to come to our World Congress in Oman in November, to debate "Innovation on the Move". »

Boris Blanche, Managing Director, IRU

Key figures

  • Distance from Genveva

    8224 km

  • Days to IRU World Congress, Muscat


  • Countries visited so far


Hear more about challenges and opportunities for the industry at the IRU World Congress

Athens > Moscow