Paolo d"Amico fires another shot over Tirrenia
Paolo d"Amico, president of Italian shipowners" association Confitarma, has fired another shot across the government"s bows on the issue of Tirrenia"s privatisation.
Responding sharply to criticism of the sector from transport minister Altero Matteoli, Mr d"Amico said that Confitarma had never been consulted on the privatisation process for Tirrenia, despite numerous requests for a dialogue. Confitarma was not aware of any individual shipowners being consulted either.
He added that issues such as the future of Tirrenia"s employees should have been a subject of discussion between the shipowners" organisation and the ministry ?in the general interest of the sector?.
Mr Matteoli asserted that the shipowners were interested only in Tirrenia"s most profitable routes, and had no interest in protecting either jobs or the public-service routes needed by island communities in particular.
He also defended the proposed extension of subsidies for Tirrenia as part of the government"s plans to auction off the entire company en bloc. Many private shipowners fear the prospect of unfair competition from a rival armed with those subsidies.
Mr d"Amico said that the liberalisation of the market via the auction of individual routes was not only ?the least costly solution for everybody? but the method suggested by the European Union.
?On this issue, as on other issues of interest to the Italian fleet, I hope shortly to have a calm and profitable discussion with the minister.?