BUSINESS

Cosco to expand Piraeus port by building fourth pier

ILIAS BELLOS

TAGS: Privatizations

Cosco, the operator of Piraeus port, plans to build a fourth cargo pier, expanding its total investment in the port by 200 million euros to a total of 800 million, well-informed sources say.

In the new master plan it will submit for approval on August 20, after discussions with the government, the Piraeus Port Authority will include the construction of a fourth pier (Pier IV) with a capacity of 2.8 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), just east of the current Pier I.

The aim is to expand the port’s capacity to over 10 million TEUs, comparable to the biggest Northern European ports. This plan had already been communicated to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis during his visit to the port before the election.

Cargo traffic at Piraeus port reached 4.9 million TEUs in 2018, 18.4 percent higher than the previous year, and over 700 percent higher than when the company was first awarded the operation of Pier II. Since then, it has built Pier III.

In 2019, traffic is estimated to rise to 5.5-5.6 million TEUs. With the planned completion of the western part of Pier III, capacity will reach 7.5 million TEUs and the new Pier IV will add another 2.8 million.

The new pier will cost almost 300 million euros. From Cosco’s original 612 million investment plan, though, one must deduct the 40 million for a megayacht building facility, a project canceled after the previous SYRIZA government expressed its opposition.

The port authority’s master plan will be submitted to the Port Design and Development Committee, a body made up of high-ranking official from several ministries. This is the same committee that had rejected a large part of Cosco’s investment plans, ostensibly for environmental and archaeological reasons, but really because the government wanted to protect several groups opposed to Cosco’s expansion.

These include shopkeepers opposed to Cosco’s building a shopping center at the cruise liner terminal and private individuals and associations that want to develop city properties and who are opposed to Cosco plans to build four hotels in the port. There has also been opposition from logistics operators to Cosco building warehouses.

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