Cosco, spurred by container activity, posts 23 pct profit rise

Piraeus Container Terminal SA, a subsidiary of Chinese company Cosco Pacific which manages the container terminal facilities and operations at Piraeus port, achieved a 22 percent profit increase in the first half of the year, the parent company announced on Tuesday.

First-half profit figures for PCT, which controls piers II and III in Piraeus and is a subsidiary of one of the world’s biggest managers of port facilities, reached 11.3 million euros, up from 9.37 million during the first half last year.

Revenues generated by port activities increased by 24.7 percent in the first half of 2014, reaching 69.3 million euros from 55.5 million in the first half of 2013.

The rising trend in the number of containers handled by the company was cited as a fundamental reason behind its improved figures.

According to company data, PCT processed a total of 1.47 million containers in the first half of 2014, up from 1.16 million in the first half last year, a 26.7 percent year-on-year increase.

With an eye on the year’s second half, Cosco announced that an even sharper upward performance trend was observed during the month of July. The company said PCT had handled 285,600 containers in July, up from the 208,600 during the same month last year, representing a 37 percent increase.

For the current year’s seven-month period from January to July, Piraeus Container Terminal SA processed 1.76 million containers, a 28.3 percent increase compared to the same period last year, when it had handled 1.37 million containers.

Cosco took the over management of its first container terminal at Piraeus in 2008 after agreeing on a 35-year lease with the Greek government. It now runs two piers. Last September, the Chinese firm agreed to spend 230 million euros to increase Piraeus’s cargo handling capacity by two-thirds over the next seven years to an annual 6.2 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs). Piraeus’s container port handled a total of 625,914 TEUs of cargo last year, up 28 percent on 2011 but still 6 percent below its 2009 figure.

Cosco was one of six investors to express an interest in a 67 percent stake in the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) in April.