Friday, 20 November 2009

Antwerp prepared to freeze port dues to secure jobs


The port of Antwerp is to readjust next year’s port dues to help secure jobs, but added unions and employers must strive to be more efficient.
The port will freeze most rates at 2008 and 2009 levels and reduce dues for the transhipment of conventional/breakbulk cargo, such as steel, fruit paper and wood, by 10%.
However, the port authority linked the reduction in rates to the condition that labour unions and employers must make a serious contribution towards greater efficiency in loading and unloading “labour-intensive items”, without compromising safety.
The port authority said it hoped freezing fees would combat further losses in freight volumes and employment and help shipping companies deal with the recession.
Port alderman Marc Van Peel said: "Nobody can deny that the port of Antwerp has lost some trade in the past years due to the overly rigid work organisation in freight handling."
Port authority CEO Eddy Bruyninckx added: "We expect to see clear signals from both sides of industry before 1 January, about their willingness to make significant improvements in the efficient use of dock labour."

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