ECONOMY

Cosco plans for ship repair unit at Salamina

Boosted by last weekend’s statement by Deputy Prime Minister Yiannis Dragasakis from China that the government will go ahead with the sale of the majority stake in Piraeus Port Authority (OLP), Cosco will now be able to implement its plan for the creation of a ship repair unit on the island of Salamina.

The Chinese company has chosen the Kynosoura peninsula – off which the 480 BC naval battle of Salamis between the Greeks and the Persians took place – right opposite the OLP-owned, Cosco-operated container terminals in Piraeus, for a project that could create thousands of jobs.

The plan involves the installation of a major unit to host and repair large oceangoing ships, equipped with a floating dry dock, which is essential for the repair of such vessels.

The area selected belongs to OLP and is large enough for another unit to be added at a later date. The plan has long been known to the Greek state, as well as to the new government, and provides for the acquisition of a floating dry dock for post-Panamax vessels (longer than 366 meters). The cost of construction and transport to Piraeus is estimated at $50 million.

This investment forms part of the package that the Chinese shipping company intends to commit to in the context of its bid for the OLP majority stake. The advantage of the Chinese plan is that Cosco is one of the world’s leading oceangoing ship administrators and by making hundreds of trips from East Asia to Piraeus it can safeguard plenty of work for the new OLP ship repair unit.

Furthermore, sources say that Cosco intends to guarantee this project as part of a broader agreement on OLP. After all, as Piraeus port users and other major companies with regular visits to Piraeus such as Evergreen, MSC and Maersk arrive in Piraeus on a weekly basis now, it would serve them well to have a repair unit at Greece’s main port. The same applies to container ships and other types of vessels that dock regularly at Piraeus, including cruise liners.