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Published: 7 August 2010
Gunther Bonz is new chairman of FEPORT
Gunther Bonz, executive director of the Eurogate Group, has been elected as the new chairman of FEPORT, the Federation of European private port operators
Mr. Bonz, a former state secretary in the state ministry for economic and labour affairs of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, follows Mrs Cecilia Battistello of the Contship Italia group, who served for the last five years as chairman of the association.
Mrs Battistello is credited with forging close links between the association and the European Commission. In her valedictory statement, she said that despite the economic situation it is of great importance for the industry as well as the Commission that joint targets are agreed and achieved.
Bonz made his position clear by saying that competition between ports and terminals should remain strong. Terminal operators, he said, have to invest accordingly and carefully assess the related commercial risks.
Bonz's message to the EU is, essentially, "hands off." His line is that within the limits of the law, lease contracts should reflect the mutual risk-taking partnership between port authorities and terminal operators.
Contract conditions should be determined between the contracting parties and an extra level of EU legislation on concessions does not add value to the market of port operations.
Discussions on state aid should focus on the impact on the market in order to arrive at the best solution, while social dialogue is the preferred road ahead for addressing training, safety and other questions.