ECONOMY

OLP lashes out at Faliro cruise dock proposal

The head of the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP), Giorgos Anomeritis, locked horns with the Union of Cruise Ship Owners and Associate Members (UCSAM) on Friday following the latter?s proposal for the construction of a new port of call for cruisers in the Faliro Delta, a few kilometers east of Piraeus. The issue could get especially contentious given that a number of tenders for such facilities are expected to be announced soon, among them one for a new cruise berth at Piraeus port.

Cruise ship owners, however, are determined to seek the cheapest options for porting, under pressure from competition in the region, along with the high cost of fuel, the decline in business due to the crisis and the difficulty in procuring lines of credit from Greek and foreign lenders.

UCSAM representatives met recently with the new general secretary of port and port policy at the Ministry of Merchant Marine, Costas Moutzouris, where they discussed the problems of berthing in Greece and especially at Piraeus, as well as presenting alternative solutions, including the construction of a dock for cruise ships at Faliro.

?On this particular issue we agreed to create a committee of all interested parties as well as port users and to hold a meeting as soon as possible so that we can present all the relevant ministries with proposals,? UCSAM said following the meeting with Moutzouris.

On Friday, the president of OLP responded to the statement with a scathing letter to the UCSAM, which was made public. In it, Anomeritis said that ?OLP SA has designed, matured and is executing works worth 420 million euros for a new cruise dock in Piraeus,? a project, he added, which has been approved by the state. Anomeritis also accused UCSAM of never having voiced any concerns to OLP about the Piraeus installations before, adding that ?the local authority has expressed its objections to the destruction of the Faliro Delta, while it has also been said that these ideas for possible new cruise ports are always poorly documented and arise from entangled interests that have nothing to do with the maritime industry.?

Anomeritis estimated the cost of a cruise port at Faliro could range from 2-4 billion euros and called on UCSAM to publish any studies, proposals and economic projections for the proposed project, as well as to ?reveal? the name of the Greek or foreign port management company that has expressed an interest in participating in such a project.