ECONOMY

Piraeus port concession plan

A number of changes are expected to be made as of early next year to a call to private investors and consortiums to express their interest in a concession of services for the port of Piraeus. The modifications are aimed at eliminating the likelihood of monopolistic conditions being created in the port’s management. The changes include a provision according to which there should be at least two concessionaires, with the Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) being one of them. The concession period is to be set at a maximum of 35 years. According to reliable reports, all the relevant requirements have been met and officials are currently expecting the green light from the government in order to initiate the process for the entry of private investors into port operation activities, especially the Container Station (SEMPO). A number of foreign companies have already expressed interest in undertaking the operation of the container station, including China’s COSCO, Italy’s MSC, Denmark’s Maersk, Saudi Arabia’s Dubai Ports World and Israel’s ZIM. The Merchant Marine Ministry is said to have already prepared the new scenario for the concession, including the following points: (a) Pier I will remain under PPA management; (b) Pier II will be conceded for a period of up to 35 years to a private investor or to a consortium, to allow for conditions of better competition and transparent operation; and, (c) Pier III, still to be developed, is valued at -300 million. Private funds are to be sought for the development of the pier, while the construction will be co-funded by PPA. It is also highly likely that a recommendation will be made regarding voluntary early retirement of employees near the pension age. Container Station The Piraeus container station’s annual capacity is 1.4 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units), which ranks Piraeus among Europe’s 10 largest container harbors and the largest in the eastern Mediterranean. The station’s overall floor space is 900,000 square meters, while it features nine vessel-serving docks. Other facilities include a container loading and unloading warehouse of 19,200 square meters, a repair and maintenance garage, in addition to refrigerated facilities for reefers and containers, as well as special facilities for storage of dangerous goods (IMDGs). The container station is equipped with a comprehensive Information Technology system (P-MIS), and a closed-circuit television system, while it also boasts its own, independent traffic network.