Shipowners want to lay issues on table

Ferry passengers could purchase fares as much as 33 percent lower if the state should decide to abolish third-party levies on tickets, according to the new president of the Coastal Shipowners Union (EEA), Apostolos Ventouris. Speaking at a press conference yesterday, he argued there are no cartel practices in the industry and that the companies will assist the Competition Commission in its job of monitoring prices by supplying any data requested. Ventouris added that coastal shipowners want to open a dialogue with the ministries of Merchant Marine and Economy to find solutions to the various economic and institutional issues that affect the efficiency of their businesses. These include discussion about an end to third-party levies, an increase in funding for subsidized routes, the compulsory discounts the Merchant Marine Ministry forces on companies for certain categories of citizens, the «anachronistic,» as he said, institutional framework on industrial relations in coastal shipping as well as the issue of fuel, since the European Commission has recently decided to impose the use of a more expensive fuel containing lower amounts of sulphur. He also wondered about the simultaneous decision by Blue Star Ferries and Minoan Lines to freeze their fares.