BUSINESS

Piraeus Containter Terminal goes from strength to strength

By Nikos Roussanoglou

Piraeus Container Terminal, the local subsidiary of Chinese giant Cosco Pacific, is expected to handle a total of over 3 million containers in the January-December period of this year.

The January-November data that Cosco released earlier this week showed that the total number of containers that went through PCT-operated terminals II and III in Piraeus amounted to 2.73 million, against 2.28 million in the same period last year, which constitutes an annual increase of 19.7 percent.

November alone showed a 12.4 increase from the same month in 2013, reaching 255,900 containers.

With this data, along with the expectation that Terminal I, which Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) operates, will post a total of 600,000-700,000 containers handled in the whole of this year, the sum of containers to have passed through Piraeus this year will amount to about 3.7 million. That in turn means that the port of Piraeus is edging ever closer to its full capacity, or 4.7 million containers per annum.

This vindicates Cosco’s efforts in recent years, in cooperation with OLP and the Merchant Marine Ministry, to expand its presence in Piraeus and increase the number of containers handled. The increase also contributed to the friendly arrangement reached between the Greek and the Chinese sides which, having secured the approval of the European Union’s competition authorities, the State Audit Council and the general meetings of Cosco and OLP, is now heading to Parliament for ratification in a bill to be voted on today.

The agreement for the friendly arrangement between OLP and Cosco provides for PCT to spend an additional 230 million euros on the creation of the new Western Terminal III, through which the total capacity of the port of Piraeus is seen growing to 7.2 million containers per year. Traffic in the section managed by Cosco is seen growing from 3.7 million containers today to a potential 6.2 million.

According to the deal, the minimum guaranteed lease rate will as of 2021 be replaced by a clause regarding minimum guaranteed capacity, determined at 3.08 million containers per annum, which reflects the cost currently covered by the minimum guaranteed rate. There will also be a fixed payment of 24.5 percent of PCT’s annual net earnings to OLP, up from the existing 21 percent.

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