ECONOMY

Demand rises on port deal

A recent government decision to hand over the cargo management services of Piraeus Port (OLP) to China’s Cosco has increased investor interest in commercial property in the area, according to local officials. The global crisis has started to bite into the local property market which is suffering from the credit crunch and a drop in investor activity as companies put off expansion plans due to the grim outlook. Cosco Pacific, the world’s fifth largest container port operator, will pay OLP a total of 4.3 billion euros to operate its cargo facilities for up to 35 years. Sources at the local municipality said the deal had rekindled interest in the property market where supply had exceeded demand. «This is an area which had been accommodating manufacturing activity in previous decades but interest has since become weak. This has resulted in a significant increase in supply of property that could be used for light manufacturing purposes,» said a local municipal official. «As far as investor interest in purchasing property is concerned, it does exist but no final deals have yet been made. I would say it is initial interest that is being shown, which is connected with the development of the terminals,» he added. Most investors are interested in office space or vacant land that can be used for a variety of purposes. The agreement between Cosco and the Greek government, which holds a majority stake in the port of Pireaus, was signed in November last year.