Estonia to oppose EC's port fee proposal

  • 2005-07-27
  • From wire reports
TALLINN - An Estonian government official said the government would oppose the European Commission's proposal to harmonize the system of port fees in the union members' ports.
"We too are against the EU port charges harmonization," a spokeswoman for the Economy and Communications Ministry said, referring to Latvia's opposition to the idea.

Tiina Liitmae, marketing specialist with the state-owned Tallinna Sadam (Port of Tallinn), said the goal of the proposal, put forth by the transport committee of the EU executive, is unclear. "It's difficult to comment on a working document in its initial phase. Harmonization of port charges by command would end in a bust for the transport sector," she said.

She said that European ports' operating principles and forms of ownership differ, which makes a big difference whether a port has to cover only operating costs from port charges and whether funds for development come from the local government or state budget. Also, whether large infrastructure investments are financed through port charges needs to be considered.

At the same time she admitted that the objective to make the ports' operations more transparent is noble, though this could not be achieved by leveling out port charges.