Piraeus Port Authority (OLP), operator of Greece’s largest port, wants the Greek government to speed up the approval of an investment plan that aims to attract more business to one of Europe’s largest harbors, executives said on Friday.
OLP, majority owned by China’s Cosco Shipping, is awaiting the green light from Greece’s Shipping Ministry to proceed with mandatory investments based on its concession agreement with the Greek state.
Approval of OLP’s so-called master investment plan, which comprises mandatory and voluntary investments, including a new cruise ship terminal, a mall and four hotels in the port, was due in June.
“I am ready with cash and will wait until the end of this year. But if the delay is prolonged there are legal means, such as clauses in the concession agreement,” OLP CEO Captain Fu Chengqiu told reporters.
China wants to transform Piraeus Port into its gateway to Europe as part of a $126 billion “Belt and Road” initiative, which envisions a new Silk Road of land and sea routes with trading partners.
Cosco bought a 51 percent stake in OLP in 2016, aiming to make the port a transshipment hub for rapidly growing trade between Asia and Europe.
It will acquire a further 16 percent of OLP, increasing its stake to 67 percent, once it completes mandatory investments of 300 million euros to upgrade infrastructure.