Greece Passes Truck Reform

Greece Passes Truck Reform

Greek lawmakers Wednesday voted to reform the nation's protected trucking industry as striking drivers clashed with police and blocked key highways on the tenth day of a nationwide walkout.

The vote will open up the closed trucking market to competition with the entry of new companies set to cut freight rates that are currently fixed across the country.

Transport Minister Dimitris Reppas told Parliament reform was inevitable as Greece in the only country in the 27 nation European Union that restricts entry into the trucking market and fixes freight rates.

By The Numbers: Asia-Europe Westbound Container Traffic.

Drivers, who unsuccessfully sought a five year transition to competition, claim opening up the market will sharply reduce the value of operating licenses for which they have paid between $120,000 and $260,000.

Drivers clashed with riot police in front of the Parliament building in Athens as lawmakers debated the reform and blocked traffic on the nation's busiest highways.

The Greek government pledged to reform several professions, including truckers, pharmacists, lawyers and architects, in return for a $143 billion loan from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to shore up the nation's public finances.

-- Contact Bruce Barnard at brucebarnard47@hotmail.com.