Greek Ports Brace for Strike as Towage Union Opposes Port Privatization

The Crew Union of Towage Companies in Greece is about to stage a towage strike in Greece today which will affect vessel movements at all Greek ports and terminals, Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS) informed.

The strike is scheduled to take place on 22nd to 23rd of October and will consist of daily four hour stoppages on 22 October, 0600-10:00 local time and 23 October, 0600-10:00 local time.

During the two stoppage periods, vessels will not be able to berth or sail from ports or terminals.

The Crew Union of Towage Companies in Greece said that the action is being pursued as a sign of protest against the planned privatization of Piraeus and Thessaloniki ports.

Greek ruling party Syriza proposed in September to sell the country’s two biggest ports  – the Port of Thessaloniki and Piraeus Port-under the same terms.

The Greek Government invited China’s Cosco Group, Maersk Group’s APM Terminals, and Philippines-based International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI) to present their bids for a 51% stake in the Piraeus port. The same terms would be offered to potential bidders for the Thessaloniki Port Authority (OLTH), which is expected to get a new owner by June 2016.

The deadline set by the Greek government for binding bids was set for the end of October, however; based on the ongoing developments in Greece following general elections in September, it is expected that the bidding processes would be delayed.

The proceeds from the sales and privatization of national assets are expected to reach EUR 6.4 billion by 2017. The privatization is a prerequisite for Greece to gain access to around EUR 85 billion offered through a new bailout program.