ECONOMY

Turning the neglected Perama zone into a modern business

The transformation of the shipyard and repair zone in Perama, near Piraeus, into a modern production site that will attract investment even from abroad and contribute toward the upgrade of the local economy and the improvement of the daily life of local residents was proposed by an appointed study team. The work group «for creating a policy supporting the zone» worked under the supervision of the Merchant Marine Ministry’s General Secretariat for Ports and Port Policy, and recently concluded its survey of the zone’s prospects, compiling this report along the lines of the government’s development policies. The report has recorded the actual problems of the shipbuilding and repair sector, critically assessing the measures taken to date and drafting a blueprint toward complete interventions for the area’s development. Development measures Among other suggestions, the report recommends: – Amendment of regulations governing ship repairs as well as of the tariffs and claims on all vessels at the shipyard and repair zone of the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) and the incorporation of incentives, such as ship repairs by appointment, etc. The floor currently imposed on letters of guarantee should be lowered to attract new customers, while fines, discounts and other provisions to customers should be revised. – The re-examination of the economic and technical feasibility study on the purchase of one or two used Panamax-type floating tanks and a consideration of the possibility of their installation at Kynosoura on the island of Salamina, as well as of the possibility of installing a floating jetty there. – Provision of an air and electricity network in the zone, either under the management of OLP’s shipyard directorate, or under a new body to be created to oversee the entire sector of shipyard and repair work. – Removal of all shipwrecks, of dangerous and damaging non-active ships, according to a law, passed in 2001, on settling shipwreck salvage issues. Regarding the possibility of founding and operating a subsidiary to OLP to organize the Perama zone and attract jobs there, the report suggests that the zone enjoy the same benefits accorded in a 1997 law to industrial and business parks. The possibility of OLP’s participation in such a body (an industrial park or zone) should also be examined. The report further recommends offering incentives for mergers and consortiums to develop economies of scale and create enterprise clusters in the Perama zone. Another proposal refers to the opening of training centers for the existing and future staff of the zone, under the supervision of the state Manpower Organization (OAED), with unemployed workers being offered an opportunity to participate. OLP could offer some of its installations for the purpose. Debts to IKA To tackle the problem of shipyard and repair companies’ debts to the Social Security Foundation (IKA), the report suggests the payment of debts in stages, with arrangements and discounts on a case-by-case basis. It also proposes that social insurance contributions be calculated on the basis of the salary provided through the collective bargaining agreement and not by any sectoral agreement, in order to boost the competitiveness of the zone’s companies and for reasons of equal treatment with other shipyards. Finally, the report recommends a strict application of the presidential decree «on the health and safety of workers at shipyards,» the modernization of existing installations and the provision of spaces for workers’ health and use throughout the shipyard and repair zone of Perama.