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The association of goods transport operators in the Balearics is contemplating protest action over the absence of measures to assist the sector in the proposed new special economic regime for the islands (REB).

The president of the association, Ezequiel Horrach, says that the REB draft contains no reference to the disadvantages of insularity as they apply to the goods transport sector. As well as the shipping costs, there is also the fact that the price of fuel in the Balearics is the highest in the country.

Horrach cannot understand why the REB draft proposes no measure to help "a key sector" for the Balearic economy. It is the one that distributes goods to the islands' industries, be these tourism, construction, retail or whatever, as well as to vital public services (health, for example). The association is looking for a major reduction in costs. This would benefit distributors, which would in turn benefit businesses and ultimately consumers.

There are some 1,500 companies involved in the movement of goods and around 10,000 drivers, although it is said that another 1,000 are needed. The import of goods - and this covers all sorts of products like cars and fuel - is overwhelmingly centred on the port in Palma: 84% of all goods traffic.

The association is seeking a 75% subsidy on the cost of freight and a tax measure to bring down the price of fuel. It is angered at what it sees to have been a failure by the Balearic government to include goods movement in the REB negotiations with Madrid. The protest it is considering would involve bringing main roads to a standstill.