21 NOVEMBER 2001

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Freeport’s absence from PCC a form of protest

The Malta Freeport yesterday clarified the reason why it has not yet participated in the Ports Consultative Council. In a statement issued yesterday, the Freeport referred to media statements that have expressed the Federation of Industry and the General Workers Union’s disappointment by the Freeport’s absence on the Council.
The Freeport explains that it has refrained from appointing a representative to the PCC in order to emphasise the fact that, in spite of all the talk about reform, the Malta Maritime Authority has chosen to implement a charge of 25c for each empty local container handled in Malta, which also includes the Freeport where the MMA does not enjoy jurisdiction.
The Freeport states that it presumes that the purpose of setting up the PCC was to enhance cost effectiveness and contends that this charge does exactly the opposite.
It also expressed its surprise at seeing the Federation of Industry ignoring this "totally unnecessary increase that presumably goes against the spirit, amongst other things, with which the PCC was instituted."
The Freeport adds that it was aware it would be criticised for not participating but, on balance, it felt it more important to highlight the incompatibility of raising costs unnecessarily by a committee and sub-committees set up to institute reforms.

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt