Shipowners: EU port initiative is tame and unambitious

The ones using the European ports, the shipowners, are disappointed by the initiative to liberalize the ports. "Tame and unambitious," they say, as EU shies away from confronting the issue of closed cargo handling.

The customers of the ports, the world's shipowners, are the ones who are going to feel that nothing is done to curb the lack of competition in cargo handling. So far, the EU postpones a final confrontation with the monopoly-like conditions in, especially, Southern European ports for another three years, leaving the matter to be solved by a so-called social dialogue between the parties.

The European ports don't believe in such a solution, and neither does the Danish Shipowners' Association, which says that shipowners can easily feel the difference between efficient and inefficient, private and public ports today. That's part of the reason the shipowners' association was hoping for a more comprehensive initiative that would liberalize all port services, and not, as happened, postpone a solution for cago handling till 2016.

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