The concessionaire Liscont, belonging to the Turkish group Yilport, continues to work, despite the fact that the strike decreed by SEAL - Union of Dockers and Logistics Activity since February 19, was only interrupted in April by the presidential decree that imposed the State Emergency due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The strike of the Dockers' Union began on February 19 of this year and was only suspended in April, when the President of the Republic signed a decree to suspend the right to strike due to the pandemic. Before and after, there has been a strike at the port of Lisbon every day, but we have continued to work, because the previous port work company had its bankruptcy declared in April ”, is the summary of the situation made to Jornal Económico by the Liscont administrator, Diogo Marecos.
According to this official, “we, Liscont, announced that we were going to hire through another port work company, Porlis, which we had since 2014, giving preference to AETP-L workers, guaranteeing the same conditions of the previous contracts and the same salaries ”.
“But none of these workers came forward, so we hired 44 workers from other backgrounds for Porlis. AETP-L had 142 workers. What is happening is that the total strike is ongoing, but we are managing to work with these Porlis workers. We have been able to work since the beginning of this strike ”, he assures.
For Diogo Marecos, “in practice, we achieved the first of two challenges, which was to overcome the need for manpower, despite the fact that the Union of Dockers did not respect the minimum services, civil requisition or the rules of the State of Emergency several times. ”.
“And that was what caused the most flight of shipowners and international lines from the port of Lisbon in recent months. And that takes us to the second challenge, which is to try to recover those scales, these lines of international shipowners, to return to the previously handled cargo levels. Of course, cargo handling at the port of Lisbon has been affected by this strike, but I can't tell you how big the breach is. Terminal concessionaires that work more at the national level, such as ETE or TMB, are already operating practically normally, but Liscont and Sotagus, which have a greater international dimension, are even more affected. General cargo companies are also less affected than companies that work more with containerized cargo at the port of Lisbon, as is the case with Liscont ”, reveals Diogo Marecos.
According to the latest data provided by AMT - Mobility and Transport Authority, in the period between January and August this year, the ports of Mainland Portugal handled 53,7 million tons of goods, which represented a drop of 8,8 % compared to the same period of 2019.
In this respect, the port of Lisbon is on line, since in the same eight months of this year it saw a reduction of 8,7%, equivalent to less 1,72 million tons handled.
But, in containerized cargo, the reality is completely different, with the ports of Sines, Setúbal and Leixões growing, despite the pandemic, while the port of Lisbon continues in free fall, with a retraction of 39,9 compared to its counterpart, less 125 thousand TEU (standard measure equivalent to 20 feet long containers) and a reduction of 944,4 thousand tons handled in this cargo segment compared to the same period last year.
As AMT summarizes, “with the exception of Lisbon, but whose causes are not unrelated to the climate of labor instability that continues to live, apparently the containerized cargo market is already in a phase of recovery from the slowdown induced by the Covid- pandemic. 19 ”.