Strike hits OLP cargo business

Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) recorded significant losses in cargo handling at the vehicle and container terminals in January, when port workers began industrial action in protest at the planned concession of container station services to private investors. The chief executive of OLP, Nikos Anastassopoulos, said yesterday that the container station saw cargo drop by 80 percent compared with December 2007, while the vehicle terminal recorded a 50 percent month-on-month decline. He added that if no solution is found in two weeks’ time, then OLP will have recourse to justice as the last means to secure its economic viability, its rights, and those of its shareholders and clients. Anastassopoulos also told a press conference that OLP’s image compared with that of its competitors is disappointing and warned that strike action has to end as soon as possible. He noted that the authority respects the employees but stressed that the relevant decisions, that are entirely lawful, will be implemented, and the bids from interested parties will be opened by June. Next Thursday, the OLP board will meet to decide on drastic cuts of 85 percent on the rates for storing imported cargoes, which due to the strike have remained for more time at the port and their overall cost is rising. Also OLP announced after negotiations with truck drivers that there will be no additional charge for freight delayed at the port owing to the port workers’ strike.