07-04-2015G. Alomar

The Balearic Port Authority has announced that there will be allowances for shipping companies in order to increase cargo, cruise-ship and ferry-passenger traffic at the five state ports of Palma, Alcudia, Mahon, Ibiza and La Sabina. The authority says that freight traffic is to be given bonuses for the first time. These will apply to ships' fees and to specifics, such as a 23% reduction on the movement of combustible liquid bulk entering Palma. Such measures, the authority points out, apply to other state-owned ports in the Mediterranean and are designed to make them more competitive and gain greater business.

Cruise shipping will be a sector to benefit the most from these allowances, with 40% reductions in charges applying all year to the ports of Alcudia, Mahon and La Sabina. The same cut will be made for ships coming to Palma and Ibiza but only in the low season. Through these reductions, the authority hopes to maximise Palma's potential for cruise shipping and so compete with Barcelona and Valencia as well as with French and Italian ports.

Cuts to the cost of freight and ferry traffic will help to alleviate the impact of insularity, though business groups, such as the Balearic Confederation of Business Associations, would like there to be greater discounts. These, though, might be achievable through a renegotiated special economic or tax regime for the Balearics, as is the case with the Canary Islands.

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