zoom Greece’s new government led by the left-wing party Syriza plans to stop the sale of a majority stake in the Port of Piraeus, for which the old government already shortlisted China Ocean Shipping Company (Cosco) and four other companies, Reuters reports. Thodoris Dritsas, Syriza party member believed to be the next minister for shipping, told Reuters that the Cosco deal is going to be ”reviewed to the benefit of Greek people.”The previous government planned to sell a 67 percent stake in Pireaus Port Authority as part of the privatisation plan created with international lenders.Cosco currently operates two piers at the Piraeus Container Terminal, and has recently started the construction of the third pier.During the Pier III inauguration ceremony, the Prime Minister of Greece Antonis Samaras described the PCT project as the most important investment in Greece in the last decade.Prior to the elections, Syriza issued a policy paper which insisted on a ”new national agreement” with the shipping industry, including cutting a number of tax breaks. Syriza also said that the shipping sector will have to bear the heaviest burden to lift the country out of the crisis.This turn in the attitude towards domestic shipping prompted several Greek shippers to warn that this new course set out by Syriza might lead to higher taxes which the shipping industry cannot afford.Some shipowners threatened to limit their domestic operations or move altogether to another country if the deal with the new government is not reached.World Maritime News Staff
zoom The Port of Oakland wants Saturday operations at its marine terminals, but first a labor shortage that has slowed vessel loading operations must be resolved, and the fee to fund Saturday operations must be reasonable and used exclusively for those operations, the Port’s Executive Director Chris Lytle said in a letter to the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission.Lytle’s letter was in response to plans by Oakland marine terminal operators to open their gates on Saturdays. The proposal, currently under Commission review, could ease weekday terminal crowding by adding a sixth day of work.Oakland terminals are already open on weekends for vessel operations, but rarely for other activities. The new arrangement would open terminals every Saturday for full operations, including gate entry. That would enable harbor truckers to pick-up containerized imports for delivery, drop-off exports or return empties.The Port of Oakland does not operate marine terminals, but it favors Saturday hours as part of a broader plan it developed to speed up cargo delivery. That plan includes offsite locations to collect empty containers and a common pool of container chassis for harbor truckers.A labor shortage that has reduced productivity this summer is being addressed, the Port said. It added, however, that more dockworkers are needed to ensure Saturday operations are successful.The Port called for a review of the Saturday program after one year of operation.