BUSINESS

Cosco raises investment target for Piraeus

ILIAS BELLOS

TAGS: Privatizations, Finance, Shipping

Shipping giant Cosco intends to implement total investments of 600 million euros at the port of Piraeus, its chairman, Xu Lirong, informed Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on the last day of the latter’s visit to China.

Officials of the Chinese corporation explained to Kathimerini that the Hong Kong-listed company’s plan aims not only to make Piraeus the biggest commercial port in the Mediterranean and one of Europe’s most important, but also the biggest ship repair point in the eastern Mediterranean and one of the most important cruise tourism junctions in the world.

The emphasis of those investments will be across all Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) activities, but especially ship repair activity and cruise tourism, beyond the contractual obligations the company has undertaken.

Those investments of 600 million euros include the 350 million Cosco committed to invest upon bidding for the 67 percent stake in OLP, plus another 250 million. However, this does not include the 230 million euros Cosco’s local subsidiary, Piraeus Container Terminal, is about to finish paying out for the completion of the original agreement for its entry into Greece.

The bulk of the new projects, worth some 500 million euros, are expected to be implemented within the next five years.

Xu explained to the Greek premier at their meeting on Wednesday that Cosco will construct not just the first stage of the cruise port expansion, but also the second, creating six new berths for major cruise liners. It will also proceed to the creation of floating dock equipment to serve most of the biggest ships in the world.

The Chinese plan focuses on serving the big container ships (motherships) that link Asia with Europe, and is based on the high-level know-how of Greek companies in the sector.

Tsipras also raised the issue of shipbuilding in Greece, but Xu responded that it is the ship repair development that must be achieved first, and for a climate of confidence to be consolidated before the two sides proceed to such a step.

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