Piraeus port sale put on the fast track

The government is set on expediting the privatization of the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP), following an agreement in principle with China’s Ocean Shipping Co (COSCO) for a 224-million-euro expansion of container terminal facilities last week.

“We wish to deepen our strategic relationship with China,” Merchant Marine Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis told Kathimerini in an interview. He said the government had opted to sell the majority of shares in the facility and a timetable for the tender will be announced soon.

Well informed sources, close to COSCO subsidiary Piraeus Container Terminal which has operated two piers at the port since 2009, have confirmed the company’s interest in the tender. Other sources argue that the state-controlled Chinese company intends to develop a large logistics center in Western Attica and, possibly, set up a manufacturing park for the final assembly of products that would thus acquire a European “passport.”

The development has also attracted US interest, given the large number of American firms that manufacture products in China and export them to Europe.