Cosco by­passes rail­way strike

Chi­nese firm sends Cen­tral Europe-des­tined con­tain­ers by sea to Slove­nia, as Train­ose re­mains par­a­lyzed

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY ILIAS BELLOS

Cosco has got aroundthe prob­lem cre­ated for its freight for­ward­ing net­work by Greek rail­way work­ers’ on­go­ing strike ac­tion by send­ing its con­tain­ers by sea from Pi­raeus to Koper in Slove­nia, from where they are loaded onto trains for the next part of their jour­ney.

Given that the freight rates for the small ships re­quired are par­tic­u­larly low, the Chi­nese com­pany can by­pass the Greek over­land route with­out any par­tic­u­lar con­se­quences as re­gards com­pet­i­tive­ness.

This al­ter­na­tive route is part of plans by Cosco’s lo­cal sub­sidiary, Pi­raeus Con­tainer Ter­mi­nal, to tackle threats to its smooth op­er­a­tion. This “smooth con­ti­nu­ity op­er­a­tion” plan was ac­ti­vated in re­sponse to as Train­ose staff an­nounc­ing they would con­tinue their in­dus­trial ac­tion at least un­til mid­night to­day. An­other al­ter­na­tive in the plan pro­vides for the road trans­port of con­tain­ers from Pi­raeus to Greece’s north­ern bor­der with the For­mer Yu­goslav Repub­lic of Mace­do­nia, where they would be loaded onto trains to con­tinue on their way to Cen­tral Europe.

The is­sue is very sig­nif­i­cant in the con­text of the de­mands of the Greek rail­way work­ers, who are against both the pri­va­ti­za­tion of rail­way op­er­a­tor Train­ose and the up­com­ing trans­fer of Hel­lenic Rail­ways Or­ga­ni­za­tion (OSE), Train­ose’s par­ent com­pany, to the port­fo­lio of the new pri­va­ti­za­tion fund to be cre­ated in Septem­ber. Train­ose work­ers will de­cide to­day on any fur­ther ac­tion.

Tren­i­talia, the sole bid­der to have sub­mit­ted a bind­ing of­fer to state sell-off fund TAIPED for 100 per­cent of Train­ose’s shares, ap­pears to be par­tic­u­larly an­noyed by the re­ported ap­proval of pay rises to train driv­ers. The Ital­ians are an­noyed not only 548.09 1.1049 be­cause this had not been fac­tored into their of­fer, but also be­cause they re­al­ize they may come up against fur­ther de­ci­sions made by oth­ers.

For Train­ose, the for­ward­ing of cargo from Pi­raeus ac­counts vir­tu­ally for its en­tire non-pas­sen­ger ac­tiv­ity, and the ex­is­tence of an al­ter­na­tive route such as that to Koper – and very soon of ri­val rail­way com­pa­nies – make the Greek rail­way op­er­a­tor less at­trac­tive and will re­duce its growth prospects.

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