BUSINESS

Northern Greek ports to be put up for utilization by end of year

VANGELIS MANDRAVELIS

Among the projects state sell-off fund TAIPED plans to proceed with by the end of the year or in early 2019 is the concession of a 30 percent stake in Athens International Airport.

TAGS: Privatizations

Aris Xenofos, the chairman of state sell-off fund TAIPED, stated on Tuesday that the process for the utilization of four regional ports that rely on the Egnatia Odos highway could start before the end of the year. Also on Tuesday the government belatedly launched the process for the utilization of a total of 10 regional ports, including the four mentioned by Xenofos.

A bill on the ratification of the concession contracts granting port authorities control of their ports was put up for public consultation on Tuesday, including a provision that TAIPED will have the right to sign contracts conceding specific activities at ports to third parties, which will later be ratified by Parliament.

Market experts noted that the bill appeared overly bureaucratic, involving the Merchant Marine Ministry in the utilization process too, without making it clear whether the ministry or TAIPED will have the upper hand in case of a disagreement. There is no provision either regarding port employees once the investors come in.

Xenofos appeared optimistic at an Enterprise Greece meeting with representatives of Russian banks and industries, saying that the utilization of the ports of Alexandroupoli, Kavala, Igoumentsa and Corfu may begin by the end of 2018.

He added that the utilization of other regional ports may also begin by year-end or at the start of 2019, along with the concession of a 30 percent stake in Athens International Airport and the sale of 50.1 percent of Hellenic Petroleum shares. Other projects about to start concern the utilization of properties at spa resorts and a large property at Gournes near Iraklio, on Crete.

In the seven years of its existence, TAIPED has completed the process for the utilization of state assets worth a total of 8 billion euros, which have brought a total of 20 billion euros into the Greek economy.

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