The Port Authority of Ceuta continues to work on the application of the new measures the Government has just approved in Royal Decree Law 15/2020, of 21 April, on complementary urgent measures to support the economy and employment due to the crisis caused by the Covid-19.
These measures complement the previous Resolution sent by the public entity ”State Ports” (Puertos del Estado), which indicated a series of recommendations in economic matters, recruitment matters, staff matters and administrative measures, for the port authorities due to the crisis created by COVID-19 , measures relative to the increase in the term of payment of port rates, the granting of payment deferrals under more advantageous conditions, the review of the minimum traffic provided in the authorization titles, the review of the payment terms to suppliers, a set of actions that the Port Authority of Ceuta has been applying since last March within the framework of the State Ports recommendations and in application of Royal Decree-Law 7/2020, of 12 March, by which urgent measures were adopted to respond to the economic impact of COVID-19 and Royal Decree-Law 8/2020 , of March 17, of extraordinary urgent measures to face the economic and social impact of COVID-19, with the aim of reducing the effects of Covid-19 among its licensee’s, clients, users, suppliers and other companies that belong to the port community.
The new measures approved by the Cabinet of the Spanish Government include several ones aimed specifically at ports of general interest, including the Port of Ceuta.
The aforementioned measures have been prepared by State Ports with the support of the port authorities and are aimed at companies in the maritime sector, aiming to increase the competitiveness of the port sector, supporting the economy and employment and, therefore, of the productive system.
These measures are mainly intended to alleviate the losses of incomes caused by the reduction in traffic the companies of the port community are experiencing. They are intended to palliate the burden that port fees represent on the operating account of these companies, while facilitating the payment by increasing the terms and reducing the pressure on the liquid assets of these companies.
The approved measures are the following:
– MEASURES WITH RESPECT TO THE MINIMUM REQUIRED IN TRAFFIC OR ACTIVITY
This measure is aimed at companies located in the port’s service areas. The Port Authorities, in accordance with the powers attributed by the Consolidated Text of the Law of State Ports and the Merchant Navy, approved by Royal Legislative Decree 5/2011, of September 5, may reduce the minimum traffic and the level of minimum activity required for the year 2020, thus avoiding penalties for non-compliance with these minimums. These measures will avoid economic penalties for non-compliance with these minimums, which is not attributable to companies but rather a consequence of the health crisis.
– MEASURES REGARDING THE OCCUPANCY RATE
This measure is complemented by the previous one. It is also aimed at companies that are members of the port community and many of them provide services that are considered essential.
From a quantitative point of view, this measure has the greatest economic impact. The passenger terminals are differentiated from the rest, in order to be able to increase the reduction in the occupancy fee up to 60 percent, while for the rest of the authorisations, the maximum will be 20 percent, given the enormous impact they have had in the traffic of passengers the measures regarding the mobility and the suspension by decree-law of the regular services.
– MEASURES REGARDING THE VESSEL RATE
This measure is aimed at shipowners and shipping companies who are present in the port and who are being seriously affected by the COVID-19 crisis. All vessels that have been forced to dock or anchor in a port because of an order from the competent authority are exempt from the payment of the ship fee. In addition to this, even if no such order is given, if it were necessary to dock in a port resulting in a long stay, a reduction in the rate is applied from the first day of its berthing, which can reach 30 percent in the first week. This case occurs with cruises that are inactive and require a long stay in a port until they become operational again. A fee reduction is also applied to ships providing port services. Lastly, the application of a 10 percent reduction in the basic amount is contemplated, during the time that the state of alert is in effect, of all those vessels related to short distance transports. In the case of regular maritime passenger service or ro-ro cargo, that reduction will be 50 percent. This reduction responds to the need to provide support and guarantee the continuity of maritime transport services that serve as ‘compulsory’ mobility in the maritime environments of the Spanish coast, both those of a national nature (maritime connections to the Canary Islands / Balearic Islands, Ceuta and Melilla and inter-island mobility, among others) such as the rest of short-distance maritime transport and sea passages with third countries, including the flow passage through the Strait.
-MEASURES OF DEFERRAL OF LIQUIDATIONS OF RATES
Port Authorities may grant payment deferrals of up to six months in the liquidation of port rates, without accruing delay interest or requiring additional guarantees.
– PASSENGER TERMINALS
Given that the reductions to the occupancy rate provided in this decree can reach 60 percent in the case of maritime terminals, with the clear intention of avoiding that this can produce an economic imbalance in port authorities that depend largely on this passenger traffic flows, it is established that the Inter-port Compensation Fund (FCI) can compensate those port authorities under the aforementioned conditions, either in this year or in year 2021.
These measures go together with those that the Port Authority of Ceuta has been applying since last March 18 within the framework of the State Ports recommendations and in application of Royal Decree-Law 7/2020, of March 12, by which urgent measures are adopted to respond to the economic impact of COVID-19 and Royal Decree-Law 8/2020, of March 17, on extraordinary urgent measures to face the economic and social impact of COVID-19, with the aim of reducing the effects of the Covid-19 among its licensee’s, clients, users, suppliers and other companies that belong to the port community.
The Port Authority of Ceuta wants to value the Decree approved by the Government in a positive way, highlighting that there are a series of measures that will benefit the entire port community that form the Ports of general interest.