BUSINESS

Relations between Cosco and gov’t close to breaking point

ILIAS BELLOS

TAGS: Privatizations, Business

Relations between the government and the operator of Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) could reach breaking point just weeks before the general election as an informal meeting between OLP and members of the Port Planning and Development Commission last Friday not only failed to resolve the problems for the implementation of Cosco’s investment but probably generated new ones too.

The meeting focused on the memorandum Cosco submitted before Easter to have the obstacles to its 612-million-euro investment plan lifted. This master plan requires decisions on land usage and construction terms, which along with the environmental study will lead to a presidential decree.

However, besides the various objections and terms introduced by the Culture Ministry, there are also significant problems stemming from the Environment Ministry: Its officials appear to view the port as part of the city and not what it is, as sources involved in the process tell Kathimerini. This has resulted in reluctance, refusals and delays, dashing any hopes of an imminent agreement.

The authorities are also refusing to approve the plans for the development of a logistics center, shipyards and a mall, while the Culture Ministry’s demand for the removal of the legally licensed and operating shipyards from the OLP concession zone at Kynosoura has evolved into a major issue, albeit without a specific date set.

This is why a few days ago Cosco asked for the concession of another 16 percent in OLP that it has paid for but not received as its investments are still pending. Given that in three months’ time three years will have passed since Cosco bought out 51 percent of OLP without its investments receiving a license, the master plan appears unlikely to be implemented as scheduled for.

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