Freight transport in the port of Palma. | Europa Press archive

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The Balearic Transport Business Federation (FEBT) has warned today that the maritime transport of dangerous goods will become 70 percent more expensive this February.

In a statement, the Federation explained that this affects medicinal and industrial gases, propane gas and chemical compounds, among other goods destined for hospitals, basic industries, water treatment plants, desalination plants and the like.

The manager of the FEBT, Salvador Servera, said that a meeting was held with different public representatives - General Directorate of Merchant Marine, Balearic Government and Port Authority of the Balearic Islands - as well as the main transport companies operating in the Balearic Islands, but "the only solution that was put on the table was to continue operating a single vessel, as until now, belonging to Trasmed" (Grimaldi).

According to FEBT, the position of the shipping company is "immovable" and involves passing on to consumers "an increase of 70% of the established prices" from this February.

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The shipping company considers that the deficit caused by the transport of goods "would be compensated with 3 million euros per year, part of which could be offset in the form of bonuses for such transport, the reduction of port charges or the possibility of having a dock for unloading and limited stay of dangerous goods in the Port of Palma".

The employers' association argues that, since the Balearic Government has no powers in terms of merchant marine, all the responsibility would fall on the Ministry of Transport.

In this sense, the FEBT accuses the Ministry of having "ignored the serious problem" raised since "it announced at the time to put out to tender the essential maritime transport of dangerous goods as a public service and later it was dismissed by considering that if there is a shipping company, such as Trasmed, willing to assume such transport, such declaration of public service makes no sense".

The manager of the FEBT has insisted that the Balearic Islands need the State to support them "as it does with the whole country", compensating the costs of insularity. For this reason, he has asked for there to be a public tender for maritime transport for this type of dangerous goods.