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Eurozone ‘Grexit’ to increase shipper costs

LONDON: Shippers can expect to pay significantly more to trade with Greece if it leaves the eurozone according to UK-based courier company ParcelHero.

The warning coincides with Germany proposing a five-year euro "Grexit" while the country remains in the EU; supervision by Brussels of Greek public administration; and a €50 billion privatization of national assets.

Prior to the Greek general election in January this year, the leftist Syriza party said it would halt the privatization plan stipulated in 2010 by the IMF and European Commission as a condition of Greece receiving a €240 billion economic bailout.

keep calmFollowing the election, prime minister Alexis Tsipras's new government immediately announced a moratorium on the sale of a 67 percent stake in the port of Piraeus to China after the Piraeus Port Authority and Piraeus Container Terminal, part of COSCO, had signed a €230 million deal.

Other assets slated for sale by the former conservative government and subsequently blocked by the Syriza party include Greek Railways and the state-run power company PPC; stakes in the Greek postal service and Athens airport; a 40-year lease of 14 regional Greek airports to Fraport; and a 99-year lease of the former Athens airport Hellenikon to a Greek-Chinese-Abu Dhabi consortium.

Commenting on the Greek crisis, ParcelHero founder Roger Sumner-Rivers said that if the country exits both the euro and the European Union it would have to set its own rates of excise duty, levy VAT on imports and establish Customs controls – just like Norway and Switzerland.

He said this would lead to a 15 percent or more increase in costs for shipping to and from Greece: "If the sender chooses to pay the Customs duties and taxes in advance the standard customs clearance charge applied by UPS, DHL, FedEx and TNT for importing goods from a non-EU country is at least £15," he explained.

"The short-term impact this would have is concerning, as businesses and consumers would be forced to adapt rapidly to these new measures. Furthermore, there would be considerable strain on Greece's Customs and Excise service until it was able to sufficiently 'scale up', which could result in a backlog of [import or export] goods awaiting clearance," he added.

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