Greece stands to benefit from China’s growing global influence, while the port of Piraeus can play a pivotal role in the development of its economy, said Xu Lirong, the President of China Cosco Shipping Corporation limited, in an interview with Sunday’s edition of Kathimerini.
“Greece will have many benefits from China’s growing influence and power in the global market,” Xu said. “Chinese companies see huge investment opportunities in Greece and this is something that is backed by the Chinese government,” he added.
The Cosco group president, who signed a 368.5-million-euro agreement on Friday with Greece’s TAIPED asset development fund for a majority stake in Piraeus Port Authority (OLP), insisted that his company’s objective is s to transform Piraeus into the Mediterranean’s most competitive port.
Under Friday’s deal, Cosco will pay 280.5 million euros to buy 51 percent of Piraeus and 88 million euros for another 16 percent after five years, on the condition it makes investments of 350 million in the next decade.
Xu also revealed plans for investments ranging from cruises and a car park to ship repair yards and shipping.
The sale of the port, the country’s largest, had been shelved when SYRIZA came to power last year but the deal was revived after Greece signed its third bailout agreement in August.
Dockworkers, however, are opposed the deal which, they say, will put their jobs at risk. Their union called a strike on Friday and held a protest in central Athens on the weekend.