Court finds extra port fees illegal

LUXEMBOURG (AFP) – The EU’s top court ruled yesterday that port authorities cannot levy excess charges on ferry passengers traveling from a member state to another country, in a judgment on a Greek case. The Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice overruled Greek legislation that allows ports to charge passengers extra harbor fees for trips outside Greece. The Dodecanese Harbor Fund had been seeking back-payments from three operators of ferries taking passengers on day trips between Rhodes and Turkey. The court said community legislation passed in 1986 guaranteed companies the freedom to provide maritime transport between member states and third countries. «It follows that maritime transport services between Rhodes and Turkey cannot be subject to more onerous conditions than those to which maritime transport services between Rhodes and ports in Greece or other member states are subject,» the court said. «Any difference must be justified by objective factors relating to the cost of harbor services, or the way passengers are treated.»

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