With 16.54 million passengers in 2015, Piraeus is the biggest coastal shipping port among 69 organized ports in the Mediterranean, according to data compiled by MedCruise, while the new management of Piraeus Port Authority (OLP), controlled by the Cosco Group since last year, is preparing to add to its real estate as a part of its general upgrading plan.
Starting from this year, Greece’s main port will undergo a general facelift in terms of its infrastructure as a part of OLP’s investment plan that provides for expenditure on improvement and maintenance totaling 15 million euros in 2017.
Kathimerini understands that in the medium term, OLP’s new management will implement a development plan for the port’s real estate that it is currently drafting. This will concern shops and reception and waiting areas, as well as the development of a hotel complex.
This planned utilization of the port zone’s real estate is expected to encourage passengers and other visitors to spend more time at the port of Piraeus, whose passenger traffic is by far the highest in the Mediterranean – more than twice that of Naples, in distant second place: The Italian port had 6.32 million passengers in 2015, according to the annual study of the Association of Mediterranean Cruise Ports (MedCruise), presented this week at the Seatrade Cruise Global 2017 fair in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The report showed that Greece recorded the second highest coastal shipping traffic in the Mediterranean (after Italy) in 2015, with 25.2 million passengers – the figures for 2016 are not available yet. Italy and Greece cover 70 percent of the total coastal shipping traffic in the Med, accounting for 37.3 percent and 32.7 percent respectively.
A significant factor contributing to Piraeus’s huge passenger numbers is its link with the Saronic islands, particularly nearby Salamina. It is also the main port linking continental Greece with hundreds of islands in the Aegean.
OLP’s coastal shipping turnover last year amounted to about 10.34 million euros, almost on a par with the year before, while net profits from this activity reached 1.59 million euros in 2016, up 45 percent from 2015.