French Govt to End Corsica Ferry Blockades

Posted by Eric Haun
Wednesday, July 09, 2014

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Wednesday he would take steps "within hours" to end blockades of ports in Marseille and Corsica by workers of the SNCM ferry operator, who are striking over the firm's restructuring plans.

Workers at the loss-making company partially owned by Veolia have been on strike since June 24, occupying ferries and blockading access to part of Marseille's port for 16 days over fears they will lose jobs and job privileges.

The strike has left the island in part cut off from the mainland at the peak of the tourist season vital to Corsica's economy while holding up the flow of goods.

Valls, who has warned repeatedly that the strike could condemn the SNCM "to death", denounced violent clashes between police and strikers near the port of Marseille and said the government would act swiftly to end blockades.

"The blockades of boats and the violence at the ports are unacceptable," he told parliament during question time. "The government will take any measure necessary within coming hours to make sure these blockages end."

Police said that strikers were using a truck to block access to the Kalliste ferry - which is not operated by the SNCM - in the port of Marseille for more than a week, with the effect that commercial freight could not be unloaded.

Strikers were also occupying several ferries which typically bring tourists from the mainland to Corsica, stopping some 230,000 tourists from reaching the island at a cost of 1 million euros ($1.36 million) in missed revenue per day, Corsican tourism officials have said.

Valls and his transport minister said this week that the SNCM, which is 25 percent owned by the French state, was "sinking" and needed to be placed under court protection to shield itself from a European Commission order to repay 440 million euros in state aid.

The government has already instructed a mediator to facilitate negotiations between the unions and management, but with talks continuing for the past three weeks, Valls said there was no time for further discussion.

Owned 66 percent by Transdev - a public transport joint venture between water and waste group Veolia Environnement and state-bank CDC - the ferry operator has racked up cumulative losses of 250 million euros over the past decade despite subsidies it receives from French authorities.

Transdev and the government prefer a Chapter-11 style restructuring that could allow new owners to buy and operate SNCM's ships. For their part, the strikers want assurances that promises to limit job cuts under a past plan will be respected and that investments will be made.

The stalemate is holding up Veolia's plans to sell most of its stake in Transdev - a tram, train and bus operator with turnover of 7 billion euros and 90,000 staff in more than 20 countries - to CDC.

($1 = 0.7331 Euros)

(Reporting By Francois Revilla and Rger Nicoli in Basxtia, Corsica; writing by Nicholas Vinocur; editing by Ralph Boulton)

Maritime Reporter April 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Ports

5th Floating Accommodation for Lerwick

A further accommodation ship, Ocean Atlantic, is due at Lerwick on Monday 27 April 2015 and is on its way from Portland in Dorset. As with the other floating accommodation at the port,

Double Order for Super Gloria Reachstacker

Kalmar, part of Cargotec, has gained an order for two Super Gloria reachstackers from Tadarsa Logistics S.L. in Aviles, Spain. The largest reachstackers ever built,

APM Maasvlakte II Terminal Opens

APM Terminals Maasvlakte II held a ceremony  to celebrate the opening of the world’s most automated container terminal.   The  event that was attended by Dutch

Passenger Vessels

IMO: Making Ferries Safer

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) domestic ferry safety conference in Manila April 24 has adopted guidelines to aid the process of reducing the mounting

EUROPA 2 Undergoes First Scheduled Docking

As part of its first scheduled docking, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ EUROPA 2 underwent technical maintenance at Blohm + Voss in Hamburg from April 11-24, 2015.   At the same time,

Spanish Ferry Operator Enrolls in Carbon Credits Program

Spanish ferry operator Baleària has signed up to AkzoNobel’s carbon credits program. The company has enrolled its passenger ferry Martin i Soler into the scheme,

News

5th Floating Accommodation for Lerwick

A further accommodation ship, Ocean Atlantic, is due at Lerwick on Monday 27 April 2015 and is on its way from Portland in Dorset. As with the other floating accommodation at the port,

Double Order for Super Gloria Reachstacker

Kalmar, part of Cargotec, has gained an order for two Super Gloria reachstackers from Tadarsa Logistics S.L. in Aviles, Spain. The largest reachstackers ever built,

Goliat FPSO in Norway

The Goliat FPSO was successfully floated off the heavy-lift vessel, Dockwise Vanguard, in the fjord outside Hammerfest, says Eni Norge    The Goliat platform has arrived in Hammerfest,

Government Update

Judge Orders Migrant Boat to Remain in Custody

An Italian judge on Friday ordered that the presumed captain of a migrant boat that sank with the loss of more than 700 lives should remain in custody after prosecutors

Iran Moves Ships, Reducing Tensions Near Yemen

A flotilla of nine Iranian military and cargo ships that U.S. officials feared was carrying arms to strife-torn Yemen sailed northeast in the direction of Iran on Friday,

Rescue Ships Head for Libya, as Migrants Die Also in Balkans

British and German warships made ready to sail for waters off Libya as Europe ramped up rescue operations in the Mediterranean after up to 900 desperate migrants

Ferries

Venezuela Probes ex-minister accused of corruption in Ferry Deals

A former minister in President Nicolas Maduro's government denied in an interview published on Friday accusations of corruption during the purchase of three

IMO: Making Ferries Safer

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) domestic ferry safety conference in Manila April 24 has adopted guidelines to aid the process of reducing the mounting

Spanish Ferry Operator Enrolls in Carbon Credits Program

Spanish ferry operator Baleària has signed up to AkzoNobel’s carbon credits program. The company has enrolled its passenger ferry Martin i Soler into the scheme,

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Pipelines Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Repair Ship Simulators Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1356 sec (7 req/sec)