OPINION

Update Greek ports

As an occasional ferry traveler in Greece, I am pleased to hear that the Greek government is finally proceeding with the deregulation – albeit partial – of routes servicing the islands. I think it is a welcome development in the direction of full liberalization of cabotage which I hope will take place soon enough. However, there is more than liberalization that is needed to solve the problems encountered last summer. If the government and public believe delays are due to ferry lines which cannot manage their operations, they are missing the point. The port infrastructure both in Piraeus and on the islands is so poor that it cannot accommodate the increasing number of travelers. Even with the best organization on board, the ferry operators cannot manage to load and offload the vessels in time when the ports do not allow for that. It never ceases to amaze me that the ports are not only too small, but also a totally unmanaged chaos, with pedestrians walking between cars, rudimentary (or non-existent) signposting, and haphazard (at best) travel guidance. A brief visit to the ferry ports of other maritime nations could glean insight into their organization and give Greek authorities ideas on how to improve the infrastructure at ports so Greece’s fast-developing ferry business could continue doing what it does best: transporting people and cargo to beautiful Greek destinations without delays. TEEMU LEHTINEN, Brussels, Belgium.