ECONOMY

Partial leasing scheme aimed at optimizing country?s port potential

The country?s existing port installations are being viewed as a tool for growth through concession contracts for entire ports or by distributing activities among interested private investors via partial leasing, according to Merchant Marine Ministry sources.

A crucial part of the policy for the use of ports will be partial concessions for the supply of services, so that, combined with the major port concessions expected, they can spearhead the country?s development strategy.

Kathimerini understands that there are some 220 ports around the country where small-scale supply services could be conceded to private investors, rather than one party being responsible for the whole port, thereby allowing for the full utilization of all unused port spaces to the benefit of the national economy. The concessions are seen lasting between 25 and 30 years, but the land will still belong to the state.

In one example cited to Kathimerini, the sources suggested that in a mixed-use port — which accommodates passenger ships, merchant vessels and recreational boats — an unused area could be conceded to a private investor for the installation of the necessary equipment and the construction of the appropriate infrastructure to host yachts.

?With the partial leasing of services to yachts in mixed-use ports, we will be able to resolve the problems we have today in catering for this category, as Greece simply does not have enough modern marinas, while many are small and cannot cater to all yachts,? Kathimerini was told.

According to the same source, various spaces within port installations could be used, such as buildings that are currently empty. ?Even shopping centers could be developed within port infrastructure, in which local trade associations could supply services to tourists,? the same source told Kathimerini.

These partial concessions could be realized rapidly thanks to their comparatively low cost, contributing to the improvement of services offered to recreational vessel users and other visitors to the port.

On Monday Merchant Marine Minister Costis Mousouroulis submitted the package of planned initiatives in the ports sector to the prime minister and the representatives of the country?s international creditors — collectively known as the troika.

Sources say that the ministry has made it clear that its intention is to make the most of the country?s ports for the benefit of the state through concession contracts. The ministry has also stressed that selling the land at ports, which belongs to the state, is out of the question.