BUSINESS

New approach to utilization of 10 ports’ infrastructure

NIKOS ROUSSANOGLOU

TAGS: Privatizations

The government is promoting a new model for the utilization of the 10 regional ports conceded to state asset privatization fund TAIPED, Shipping Minister Yiannis Plakiotakis announced on Wednesday.

TAIPED is already carrying out new assessment and sustainability studies with the aim of adopting a new model for the utilization of the ports of Volos, Rafina, Igoumenitsa, Patra, Alexandroupoli, Iraklio, Elefsina, Lavrio, Corfu and Kavala, with an emphasis on forming separate development blueprints for each port.

As Plakiotakis told a press conference, “we are not going to sell off any public property asset. Whether we concede [an entire port authority] or subconcede activities – with the final form emerging from the relevant studies – we are effectively speaking of leasing.”

He added that “at the moment investments are being made under specific terms and conditions, and all interested investors will know very well the rules of the game, safeguarding the public interest as well as investments and jobs. Our country’s port infrastructure has to be modernized via investments, but only based on specific conditions,” said Plakiotakis.

The previous model had provided for a horizontal utilization, choosing the process of subconcessions for every port. The minister said this model would determine absolutely nothing about the investments or the projected revenues, and would not make the most of the specific potential each port has. It is in this context, and after examining all proposals and studies, that it will be decided whether the concession or the subconcession of activities will be preferred.

Notably, in recent days strong interest has been formally expressed in investment in port infrastructure in Greece by the ambassadors of both Qatar and Abu Dhabi, a development that may well have affected the government’s change of attitude. Plakiotakis did not rule out the possibility of a legislative intervention to change the previous government’s legal framework on port utilization.

As for the matter of the Cosco investment plan for Piraeus Port Authority (OLP), Plakiotakis said the ministry is expecting the new, amended investment master plan for OLP within August and that the aim is for all problems be resolved by the end of the year so that work can begin, some two years after the start of this effort.

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