Cosco was not among the companies that submitted binding offers on Monday for some 60 hectares of land in Thriaseio, west of Athens, that will be used for the construction of a rail freight hub.
The consortium that did express their interest in the concession was made up of two Greek companies, ETBA and Goldair. ETBA is a unit of Piraeus Bank which manages and develops industrial parks, while Goldair offers cargo and logistics services and is one of the biggest companies of its kind in Greece.
A committee from railway property company Gaiaose is due to meet today to assess the bid and to decide whether to proceed with the privatization process. The selected investor will have to build a terminal with access to the national railway network and Greece’s largest port in Piraeus and operate it for 60 years.
The process for launching the project began in 2008 but a tender held during that year collapsed. A second tender was launched in 2010 but it also proved fruitless. The current process began last November but the deadline for the tender had to be pushed back twice this year to allow investors more time to prepare, amid fears that it would fail for a third time.
“The tender attracted interest from investors despite some forecasts that it would not,” Gaiaose managing director Athanasios Schizas told Kathimerini.
There are, however, concerns about how successful the 250-million-euro project will be given that Chinese shipping giant Cosco, which is increasing the amount of goods it transports through Greece, is not involved.
“Our potential interest in Thriaseio was always linked with Cosco as we are not a logistics company and thus not a basic user. As Cosco is not going to bid, we will not either,” an executive at National Bank unit NBG Pangaea, who declined to be named, told Reuters before Monday’s deadline. NBG Pangaea was seen as a possible partner for Cosco in Thriaseio.
However, there is the potential for further investments in the future as Gaiaose and the Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) have a total of 200 hectares of land available in Thriaseio. Cosco is said to have expressed an interest in a much larger plot than the one made available in the current tender.