Customs officers in Thessaloniki port’s Gate 16 cut night shift as of Saturday night

Thessaloniki port’s Gate 16, where containers and international trade are handled, will operate without a night shift as of Saturday night, as negotiations between the Greek association of customs officers (OTYE) and the government did not lead to an agreement on their demands for more staff.

The move had been announced in August when the union said Gate 16 will only operate from 06:00 to 22:00 as of September 16, instead of on a 24-hour basis, as was the case until now.

The customs officers’ union has cited a lack of staff, the absence of repository and storage facilities in the port, as well as the lack of facilities and infrastructure for the supervision and control of goods as some of the reasons for its decision.

The move is expected to affect as much as one third (34 pct) of the gate’s daily traffic, with obvious implications to trade, the local economy and delivery times. The announcement has caused great concern to productive bodies and businesses in northern Greece who have warned of “detrimental consequences” the abolition of the night shift will have on export-oriented businesses.