After more than 15 months and more specifically, from the beginning of 2008, port of Piraeus" container handling operations returned back to normal.
After more than 15 months and more specifically, from the beginning of 2008, port of Piraeus" container handling operations returned back to normal. Workers have agreed to halt their continuous stoppages, strikes and labor disputes, with the Port Authority (OLP) announced yesterday that the port has finally resumed its normal operational rhythm. That means that customers are now serviced on a 24-hour basis on a 7-day a week basis. According to a relative announcement, OLP said that ?the port"s management and all the workers assure that they will continue their customer-based policy in a more effective way, in order to improve the quality of service providing, with an aim to a fast and safe service for people, ships and cargoes?.
While this development was hailed as the final resolve of a long dispute, it leaves the port with multiple wounds to heal. The port of Piraeus has lost customers to other ports, not to mention the loss of its credibility and fame in the market. Those two especially, are likely to prove rather difficult to re-acclaim, amid the current economic crisis, which has plagued the container market beyond any doubt. At a period when other competing ports of the region have been actively undertaking initiatives to attract lines and customers, Piraeus was busy trying to service even those few who still preferred its business. Other ports have been upgrading their infrastructure, when Piraeus port was looking to cope with the dockworkers" denial to work overtime or weekends, not to mention 24 and 48-hour strikes at least once a month.
These are facts that nobody can ignore. It is most likely that every container line or other cargo trader will remember that vividly, when Cosco Pacific assumes control of the two container terminals at the port, leaving OLP to manage the remaining terminal. The question on everyone"s lips is why should somebody opt for OLP"s terminal and not go with Cosco"s, even if costs are higher, which we beg to differ if this should even be the case. The port"s management has a long way to go to repair the damages made, both fiscal and psychological.