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 Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter January 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Ports

USCG to Inspect Storm-damaged Anthem of the Seas

The storm-damaged Royal Caribbean cruise ship Anthem of the Seas is scheduled to return to New York Harbor Wednesday evening where it will be met by a team of inspectors from U.

Sydney Deep Water Port Project Named NOVAPORTE

The Harbor Port Development Partners (HPDP) and the Port of Sydney announce the new brand for Sydney’s new container terminal: NOVAPORTE and its adjacent logistics park NOVAZONE.

Royal Caribbean Ship Thrashed by Storm Returns on Wednesday

A Royal Caribbean cruise ship forced to turn back early after being battered by an Atlantic storm was expected to return to its New Jersey port at 9 p.m. on Wednesday (0200 GMT Thursday),

News

No Need to Change Tug Workers’ Hours -Study

The American Waterways Operators (AWO), the national trade association for the tugboat, towboat and barge industry, hailed a study conducted for the Transportation

Danelec Marine Making Free ECDIS Upgrades

Ships with older Danelec ECDIS models are being upgraded to new hardware and software   Danelec Marine has launched a program to provide free upgrades of shipboard

USCG to Inspect Storm-damaged Anthem of the Seas

The storm-damaged Royal Caribbean cruise ship Anthem of the Seas is scheduled to return to New York Harbor Wednesday evening where it will be met by a team of inspectors from U.

Government Update

Funding Secured for Project to Deepen the Delaware River

Dennis Rochford, president of the Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River and Bay, announced that President Obama’s FY17 proposed budget includes $33 million for the Delaware River Deepening Project.

SBM Offshore: US Authorities Reopen Corruption Probe

SBM Offshore, the world's top oil production ship leasing company, said on Wednesday that U.S. authorities had re-opened an inquiry into bribery allegations involving the Dutch company.

Proposed Changes to Long Island Sound Dredged Material Sites

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to amend its 2005 rule that designated the Central and Western Long Island Sound Dredged Material Disposal Sites.

Ferries

BMT Provides Ferry Design for River Murray

BMT Design & Technology Pty Ltd (BMT), a subsidiary of BMT Group Ltd, has completed a design project for the South Australian Government’s Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI).

Meyer Turku Lays Keel of Tallink’s LNG Ferry

The keel of the Tallink’s new LNG-powered fast ferry Megastar was laid at the Meyer Turku shipyard   The hull assembly of Tallink’s new fast ferry Megastar started

PVA Elects 2016 Leadership

During the PVA Annual Convention at MariTrends 2016 held January 23-26 in Crystal City, Va., members of the Passenger Vessel Association (PVA) elected Margo Marks of Beaver Island Boat Company,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Standards Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Sonar Winch
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: 0.0729 sec (14 req/sec)