The Port of Piraeus is keeping its car terminal tariffs frozen for the remainder of 2009 and providing a range of incentives including the provision of 50% more free storage time for vehicles.
Following consultations between the Piraeus Port Authority and the collective representative body of Greek shipping agents – DNE – the authority is extending the existing freeze which was taken for the first semester of 2009.
“The consultations took place in a mutually understanding environment [and the] PPA tried to support most of the propositions for the enhancement of the car terminal,” said PPA spokesman Dr A Karlis.
As well as the extended limit on tariffs to December 31st 2009, these propositions include suspending the obligation for carriers to have a minimum number of vehicles per ship when calling at the port. The PPA will also reduce the breadth of the tariff scale available for transhipment of cars in order to achieve the relevant discounted tariffs with fewer cars, given the reduced volumes of international trade.
The authority will also provide incentives for the long term storage of cars, against a contract based on an agreed volume and storage period, through the provision of 50% more free storage time and a discount of 20% in tariff for the remaining contracted storage days.
In addition it has said that there is a possibility for a further extension of 6-12 months following a re evaluation of the measures at the end of this year in the light of the situation in the global market.
Shippers have been quick to welcome the measures. Peter Menzel, Director and General Manager of the Car Carrier Group at K Line Europe, told Automotive Logistics that the statement has “really set an example for other ports” and is evidence that the port “is clearly recognising the problems the industry is facing and a real help”.
He continued: “All in all we have to say that the PPA has been very supportive during the time of their crisis during the strike and labour action period and this press release is an appreciated continuation of this policy.”
In opposition to the port authority’s move to find a private operator to run its new container terminal, unions representing the dockers placed a ban on overtime and weekend working in January last year. The action also included wildcat 24-hour walkouts and slowdowns. The action was called off at the beginning of April (read more here).
Nikolaos Papanastasiou, Commercial Manager for the Mediterranean and Black Sea Area, at UECC, added his recognition:
“This governmental measure and the decision from PPA is very much welcomed by UECC operating liner services to/from Piraeus and we anticipate seeing increased traffic for the domestic market and increased transhipment volumes.”
The measures come in addition to a recently introduced 50% cut in the road registration tax, applicable over the next four months.
“The situation, especially after the dramatic drop in transhipment cargoes for the Russian and Ukrainian market to Ilyichevsk via Piraeus… led to frustration and [presented] a sad picture each time someone visited the port, looking like a pitch without the players,” said Papanastasiou
However, he told Automotive Logistics that this increase would not reach “a high extent” in 2009 and called for an extension into 2010.
“We urge the decision makers in Piraeus to evaluate the same measure for 2010, which is expected to be a tough year also, and hopefully competitive ports targeting mainly in transhipment volumes will be carried along by PPA's measure.”