BUSINESS

Port utilization process starts

VANGELIS MANDRAVELIS

The port of Kavala in eastern Macedonia

TAGS: Privatizations, Economy

Parliament’s Commerce and Production Committee is to begin debating the bill on the utilization of Greece’s regional ports on Thursday. When the law is voted in, state sell-off fund TAIPED will launch the process to utilize the 10 ports after a long period of discussions.

The draft law effectively concedes to TAIPED the right to “subconcede” activities in the ports of Alexandroupoli, Corfu, Elefsina, Igoumenitsa, Iraklio, Kavala, Lavrio, Patra, Rafina and Volos. The vote will also signal the ratification of the old concession contracts to the authorities that currently operate the ports. This was necessary because the subletting contracts TAIPED will seek in future will also have to be ratified by law by the Parliament.

The concession process is expected to begin with the ports in northern Greece, namely those of Alexandroupoli and Kavala. In both cases the objective is the concession of cargo activities at the ports: At Kavala this mainly concerns marble, fertilizers, wood and other cargoes heading to and from Balkan states (primarily Romania and Bulgaria). Kavala’s Filippos B Port covers a surface area of 172,000 square meters.

A similar plan is on the way for Alexandroupoli’s port, which besides bulk cargoes (wheat, sugar etc) also handles small containers. It is also looking forward to the creation of the onshore natural gas terminal, while Gastrade is setting up its offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) gasification terminal nearby.

Market experts note that the port of Alexandroupoli is of greater significance as it can be used to detour cargo traffic from the Bosporus. It is also one of the few ports in the country served by a rail link, increasing the flexibility of cargo transport.

Up next will be the ports of Igoumenitsa, Volos and Corfu, with TAIPED aiming at the concession of the cargo activities at Igoumenitsa and Volos, while at Corfu the objective is the concession of cruise ship docking activity.

The utilization of the ports at Rafina, Iraklio, Patra, Lavrio and Elefsina is expected after 2020.

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