Cosco, OLP to team up for bid?

The president and chief executive officer of the China Ocean Shipping Company (Cosco), Captain Wei Jiafu, is expected to accompany Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on a visit to Greece at the end of October, bringing with him plans for Chinese investment in local projects. The Chinese, as stated by Wei in previous public comments, are interested in investing in Piraeus. They are also examining the prospect of teaming up with the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) as regards investing in the Thriasio cargo management terminal, west of Athens. The Thriasio cargo terminal could act as a base to move Chinese goods into Europe, the Balkans and the Black Sea area. The Chinese premier is expected to visit Cosco’s facilities in Piraeus along with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, according to sources. Upon arrival in Greece, Wei is likely to meet with the chairman and CEO of OLP, Giorgos Anomeritis, in order to discuss the final details for submitting a joint bid in the international tender for the Thriasio cargo terminal to be held on November 20. OLP has set up a logistics subsidiary in order to take part in the tender with Cosco. The two sides have held several meetings concerning the possibility of a joint bid and are looking at whether more partners will be needed for the project, sources added. The Thriasio cargo terminal is worth 150 million euros without taking into account the value of the land. A complete cargo management terminal will be constructed, intended to transport goods from Greece to neighboring countries. OLP views it as being of importance for the national economy and for its own growth prospects. Apart from investments in two piers, Wei stated on his last visit to Athens that Thriasio fits into Cosco’s strategic plans to turn Piraeus into a major transport hub for Chinese products. Despite the financial crisis, the Chinese giant has planned investments for Piraeus reaching 500 million euros within the next five years. The agenda includes the upgrade of Pier 2, which Cosco has been operating since last June, and the construction of a third pier at Piraeus.

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