Foreign groups pick Greece for assembly lines, Euro gateway

By Ilias Bellos

Several of the major international firms that have chosen Piraeus to be their products’ gateway to Europe are apparently close to moving along to the second step, which is the creation and operation of assembly lines in Greece. At the same time, foreign groups with activities in the forwarding and logistics sectors are preparing to take their own positions, while exporters from third countries are mulling the option of bringing their distribution centers to Greece.

A few days ago the government tabled a bill in Parliament regulating supply chain issues, which clearly states that this also concerns the assembly of products or small modifications. This move opens the way for a market that could contribute some 5.1 billion euros to the gross domestic product over a four-year period, according to the National Bank of Greece.

Sources have told Kathimerini that a number of foreign groups which have brought their distribution centers to Greece, including Chinese giants ZTE Corporation and Huawei Technologies and US firm Hewlett-Packard, have already reached the end of the planning stage for the operation of product assemblage or modification in this country.

Sony has been added to the companies that have chosen Piraeus as an entry point from which to take their products to Europe, while California-based Cisco and South Korea’s Samsung are in talks to follow suit. Sony’s products are transported via a Trainose service from Piraeus to Slovakia, where the Japanese electronics company has installed an assembly and distribution center.

The strengthening of the Greek market’s competitiveness in general, and particularly in employment and real estate, which are seen as underpriced, serve as exceptional draws even for the relocation of such units within Attica.

The international logistics sector also has Greece on its radar, with sources saying that Belgian group Bergen Logistics is about to open an office in Athens, while foreign companies such as Switzerland’s Kuehne + Nagel International AG and Greek firms such as Sarmed are rapidly growing.