ECONOMY

Major forwarding firms are looking at alternative ports for their containers as strike action continues

Major international forwarding companies are searching for new commercial ports to ship their cargo to as the ongoing strike by dock workers in Piraeus and Thessaloniki has reduced the ports’ capacity to reliably serve the firms’ increased needs. One such big company, active in Piraeus, is examining the option of a private port while also planning to send containers to the ports of neighboring countries which offer upgraded services. Tomorrow, the management of Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) is expected to adopt a decision reducing the rates for container storage by 85 percent in order to cut the final cost of products. Reductions of 60 to 90 percent will apply to other cargo categories. OLP sources suggested that efforts were being made to normalize container handling operations following a deal with truck drivers who agreed to stop their industrial action and forward 500-600 containers per day. «Owing to the truck drivers’ strike, over 10,000 containers have accumulated in the port and will require more than 20 days to be processed,» OLP sources have told Kathimerini. Despite the problems, interest continues to be shown in Piraeus and Thessaloniki by major port management companies. Interested companies are said to be exchanging views on the potential of the two ports, and a joint venture may emerge that will include a bank in order to bid for the services that are due to be privatized. The prefectural authority of Piraeus will tomorrow bring an action against OLP, so that any liability resulting from the concession of services to private investors can be investigated. Piraeus Prefect Yiannis Michas said he will also report OLP to the Capital Market Commission for submitting incorrect data and misleading investors. Port workers are also expected to escalate their industrial action from next week.