By Alexandra Kassimi
More major international companies that have their products manufactured in Asia are being drawn to Piraeus as a transit hub for Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean following the deal between Hewlett-Packard, Cosco and TRAINOSE.
Sources say IKEA and Dell are among the firms that have expressed an interest to examine a possible deal similar to that of HP. Interest in a possible cooperation to the same end has also been expressed by LG, Samsung, Lenovo, Sony and Hyundai, but they intend to wait and see how the HP deal progresses.
The preliminary agreement between US electronics giant HP, Chinese port operator Cosco and Greek rail service operator TRAINOSE depends on the completion of the railway link between Thriasio, in western Attica, and Ikonio, in western Piraeus. The plan is for the link to be delivered for commercial use by the end of this month. According to the deal, HP products will be transported by sea to countries in Eastern and Southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
The delivery of the rail link will lead to the signing of the HP-Cosco-TRAINOSE agreement, which may well also take place at the end of the month.
That is set to bring about several similar deals with the other companies that are interested but are still waiting to see the completion of the HP deal, which is indicative of the suspicion held by many international firms concerning the Greek financial environment.
Test runs have already begun on the rail link, also with the participation of HP. Delivery of the link to TRAINOSE will signal the start of commercial services and the completion of the deal that provides for the transfer of HP goods to Pier II at the port of Piraeus, controlled by a Cosco subsidiary, for their transfer to Europe and the Middle East.
At present the rail link between Thriasio and Ikonio allows for speeds of between 50 and 70 kilometers per hour, but the planned improvement will increase the average speed to 90 km/h throughout the line’s 17 kilometers, which will also have no crossings and be fenced in along its whole length.