ECONOMY

OLP, OLTH extend their deadlines for port tenders

Greece’s largest port facility, the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP), will delay announcing the winner of a tender to upgrade and manage its cargo facilities at the request of bidders, a company official said yesterday. «The announcement is postponed until May 9, to satisfy the request of five bidders who wanted an extension of the deadline to submit bids,» OLP’s CEO Nikos Anastassopoulos told Reuters. OLP had planned to announce the winner on March 19. Some of the interested parties risked missing the deadline to submit bids because of paperwork backlogs. «Dubai Ports World, PSA International and Hutchison Whampoa are among the bidders,» Anastassopoulos said. Greece, with two of the largest harbors in the Mediterranean, is seeking investors to run and modernize its outdated facilities to boost cargo business and turn the ports of Athens and Thessaloniki into regional hubs. The prevailing bidder will operate and expand three of the ports’ commercial docks for up to 35 years. The port of Thessaloniki (OLTH) also decided to extend the deadline for submission of bids to May 14 for the same reason. Officials said China’s Cosco and Denmark’s Maersk were among the bidders. The government holds more than 70 percent in each of the two main commercial ports. OLP has a market value of -462 million while the Thessaloniki port is worth -220 million. Dock workers are opposing the partial privatization. They have staged repeated walkouts at both ports since January and refuse to work overtime, worried the move will lead to job cuts. As a result, containers have piled up at both facilities, hurting export-import businesses.