Snags delay launch of new Patra port

In a first for Greece, a massive project is under way in the Peloponnese to move the port of Patra from its current, historical location north of the city to a new location in the southern part, on a part of the coast that once hosted industries such as textile producer Peiraiki-Patraiki and the Ladopoulos paper factory.

The Patra Port Authority (OLPA) has confirmed that the move is expected to take place soon, though it has been unable to set an exact date as it is rectifying a series of small technical problems that came up during the new port?s dry run.

There are those who object to the port being opened too soon, such as Costas Vris, the head of the shipbrokers association, who argues that the move should either have been made last February or should be pushed back to September to avoid headaches for travelers during the tourist season. He also told Kathimerini that access to the new port is also problematic as the road network in and around the site has not yet been adapted to suit ferry traffic, and especially slow vehicles such as trucks.

OLPA counters that the project has been tendered and commissioned and that studies have been carried out confirming that the existing road network can serve for the time being.

Meanwhile, Vris adds that the new port only has four docking bays, which means that many ships will be forced to dock at the old port if they need to spend the day or the night at Patra. OLPA has said that most of the old port will continue to operate, at least until a pending petition by the Municipality of Patra to the Finance Ministry to cede a part of the coastal front to it is decided.

The shipbroker head also argues against the port?s move by saying that the location is further away from the center of Patra than the old port, which may deter tourists from stopping at the city overnight during their trip to or from Greece.

Work on designing the new port began in the early 1990s and construction took from 1997 to 2010 to complete. The total cost is over 60 million euros.

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