STA, 20 February 2020 - The government has adopted a decree establishing a public company which will be the sole provider of maritime piloting services in the port of Koper, and which will be operated by Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH), the state asset custodian.
Under the decree, maritime piloting in Slovenia's sole maritime port will be provided as a public utility service and the government will be able to price the service on its own.
The service is currently provided by the private company Piloti Koper, whose workers threatened the management with a strike in early 2019, demanding greater safety at work through additional hirings and pilot boats, as well as higher wages.
The government said after Thursday's correspondence session that it wanted to "provide undisturbed and permanent maritime piloting service, which is currently provided as a monopolist activity on the market, and avoid navigation safety risks, pollution and economic damage".
The decree was adopted after SSH approved at the beginning of the month the annual maritime piloting management plan, drafted based on a government decision from last summer.
The plan was prompted by "risks related to the existing manner in which the service is provided," the government said, adding that maritime piloting was the responsibility of the state.
The Ministry of Infrastructure said at the beginning of February that the maritime code had been stipulating since 2010 that the state must establish a public company which would perform such service under a concession contract.
"The ministry is thus realising the legislative provision which has not been implemented yet," it told the STA at the time.
The government decree follows warnings about two employees of Piloti Koper who have pointed to the difficult working conditions and staff shortage receiving contract termination threats.
The trade union of crane operators at Luka Koper has also warned that the management of Piloti Koper, despite the strike-averting agreement reached in April 2019, continues repressing, mobbing, harassing and mistreating employees.
The company responded by saying that the developments did not affect the quality, safety and continuity of the service, and that the trade union was only trying to create an alleged state of emergency at the port of Koper.