ECONOMY

Cosco upgrades its presence in the port of Piraeus

Cosco?s investment in the Piraeus container terminal is thriving and the Chinese shipping and logistics services supplier company has now started operating a state-of-the-art logistics space of 7,000 square meters at the port.

Piraeus has become the No 1 port for Cosco outside China, with May data showing an increase of 130 percent year-on-year in container traffic from Terminal 2 — which the company operates — reaching up to 874,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (teu) in the first five months of 2012. The target is for a total of 2 million teu by year-end.

The new logistics space constructed by Cosco in the so-called Free Zone of the port supplies services for dry-bulk cargo storage in 5,200 sq.m., refrigerated container storage in 620 sq.m. and dangerous or fragile cargo services in 554 sq.m.

?Covering age-long needs in a modern logistics facility within Free Zone Type 1, where it meets all safety standards, the company will supply all users with services such as the filling and emptying of containers, short-term storage, palletizing, as well as the unpacking and merging of cargo and containers, at very competitive rates and using new and environmentally friendly technologies,? a source from Piraeus Container Terminal SA, a Cosco subsidiary, told Kathimerini.

The same source added that the comparative advantages of the logistics spaces include their location in Piraeus?s Free Zone Type 1 that allows for cargo management and storage without the inconvenience of customs handling or having to pay guarantees or go through bureaucratic procedures until customs clearance and full or partial exit from the Free Zone ahead of entering the domestic market.

Kathimerini was told that, thanks to its ideal storage conditions, with controlled humidity and temperatures, as confirmed by its ISPS certification, the new logistics space could become a hub for all spare parts and supplies for ships sailing across the region of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

?As a company, in minimum time, we have managed to supply certified services in the refrigerated container domain and respond to the demands of major shipping companies in attracting cargoes in refrigerated containers, such as bananas. Combined with the quality services of the new logistics space, it can also be used for redistribution to the Balkans, cross-docking etc,? Kathimerini was told.

The same company source added that there is also the capacity for managing and storing certain categories of potentially dangerous cargoes such as paints and so on in special fire-proof spaces.

?Due to the geographical location of the port, the shipping community has the option of making Piraeus a transit center for combined transport of LCL [less-than-container-load] cargo for redistribution and forwarding of loads by road, sea or rail,? the Cosco source told Kathimerini.

In May alone, Piraeus Container Terminal handled 195,000 teu, compared to 111,000 teu in May 2011, i.e. a 75 percent rise.