The Port of Gdansk Authority has refuted the claims of the employees of its stevedoring company Port Gdanski Eksploatacja Spolka Akcyjna, who are blaming the port authority for the company’s worsening economic situation.
Namely, the unions believe that the increase in lease rates, which was forced upon the new owner of Port Gdanski Eksploatacja (Port of Gdansk Cargo Logistics -PGE) as well as the halting of the company’s sale, a matter which was taken to court, and above all, the lack of decisions on the future of the company, have pushed the firm into financial uncertainty.
PGE is a multipurpose stevedoring company, dealing chiefly with general cargo, containers and dry & wet bulk cargo at the Port of Gdansk.
“We reject entirely the allegations concerning the economic and legal situation of PGE presented in the above-mentioned letter,” the Port of Gdansk Authority said in a statement, adding that the indexes of the ownership and capital structure of PGE show that the company still has considerable equity.
“Above-average liquidity ratios indicate that PGE has solid financial resources.”
In addition, the port authority stressed that the need to create new leases resulted from the ongoing process of selling shares of PGE held by PGA. The majority of shares (98,28%) of PGE was owned by Port of Gdansk Authority, which the authority decided to sell in 2014 to avoid a breach of European Union law on the use of unlawful state aid.
According to the statement, the sale of shares in PGE has not been suspended. However, the litigation brought by Mariner Capital Limited against PGA, a developer and operator of sea terminals from Malta, which won the tender to acquire the PGE shares, has brought the situation to a stalemate as the country’s Treasury decided to withdraw from the sale in 2015.
Local media reported that PKP Cargo and Węglokoks that bid for the shares previously might be back in the game through a recently established joint company which could take over PGE.
As explained by PGA, the conclusion of the final agreement for the sale of shares in PGE, has not yet been bindingly closed.
“Neither PGA, nor any other entity is able to influence either the pace of ongoing legal proceedings, and, the more so, their outcome,” the statement reads.
Speaking of the economic situation, the port authority said that the results of PGE are to the greatest extent affected by the volume of transshipment of goods, which involves the acquisition of new customers.
“The negligence of PGE’s predecessors in this field, as well as the lack of a development and investment plan, despite having substantial financial resources, since 2014 onwards has led to a decrease in transshipment volumes of nearly 1 million tonnes and in turnover by more than PLN 11 million.
“The present management board has stopped the process of running down the company, the destruction of its assets and reduction of its potential. PGE is working proactively for the development of the sales department, along with investment purchases which in 2017 will be among the largest in the company’s history. In parallel, PGA has launched its largest investment project for years in the inner port, involving the reconstruction of quays and deepening of the fairway.”
In 2016, more than 14.5 million tonnes of general cargo was handled on Gdansk’s quays, i.e. 23% more than in 2015, the port data shows.