GRIMALDI DENOUNCES ABUSIVE PORT PRACTICES IN EUROPE
Emanuele Grimaldi, managing director of the Italian roll-on/roll-off shipping group Grimaldi, attacked what he regards as widespread abusive practices among European ports.
“We shipowners … want to take away the abuses that are taking place in the ports,” Grimaldi told the Shipper Forum 2002 in Athens, Greece. He referred to restricted pilotage and towage services provided by ports, and to dock labor practices.
In the port of Marseilles, France, a dockworker earns 400 euro (about $400) per shift, said Grimaldi, who is also chairman of the European Community Shipowners’ Association. “Who in Europe earns 400 euro for six hours?”
“We must fight these privileges,” Grimaldi said. His criticism of European port practices was not directed solely at the port of Marseilles. He referred to the dock labor dispute at U.S. West Coast ports, where dockworkers earn about $160,000 a year in salary and benefits. “It’s the same thing,” Grimaldi said.
Alfons Guinier, secretary general of the European Community Shipowners’ Association, said the European Union must implement its proposed directive on port services, under review by the European Parliament.
The directive would allow more competition among service providers at European ports, and enable shipowners to carry out some cargo-handling activities. At present, in many ports, only one entity provides pilotage and other port services.
The International Federation of Transport Workers opposes the port liberalization directive.
Grimaldi also asked that European governments invest in port infrastructures to help develop short-sea shipping as an alternative to trucking, in line with European Commission policy.