Thessalonik's shipping agents warned on Tuesday of the "destructive effects" of a decision taken by the Greek association of customs officers (OTYE) to cancel the 06:00 to 22:00 shift at Gate 16, where containers and international trade are handled, as of September 16.
"Changing the working hours at Gate 16 in OLTH as of September 16 is not only a development that will hurt Greek exports and the local economy of northern Greece, but it is an international issue, as it will create a major problem with shipping lines, which are global companies and their ships will be waiting many hours," the head of the Association Vasilis Kambakis told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency.
The customs officers' union has cited a lack of staff, the absence of repository and storage facilities in the port, as well as the lack of facilities and infrastructure for the supervision and control of goods as some of the reasons for its decision.
The Exporters' Association of Northern Greece has also expressed its dismay in a recent letter to the finance ministry.
"We do not understand the sudden decision to limit the daily operation of Gate 16 by one-third, which will undoubtedly hurt exports, but also the port itself, in an extremely critical time for the port- but also the economy and employment in the wider region - with a view to the completion of the concession procedure, which has created high expectations in the business community for its development," the union said and urged the two sides to find a solution to the problem.