First 20,000 teu Cosco Shipping containership calls Piraeus

Cosco-managed Piraeus port entered a new era this week when it handled its first 20,000 teu plus containership, the newbuilding Cosco Shipping Taurus, on 26 February.

The 20,000 teu megamax containership made her maiden call at the Greek port while enroute from China to Rotterdam, her Piraeus call marking the inauguration of the 3rd berth for 20,000 teu plus vessels at the Piraeus Container Terminal (PCT).  “With the container business booming, the call of Cosco Shipping Taurus will bring more business to Piraeus port. The dream of becoming one of the biggest ports in the Mediterranean with 10m teu annual capacity will come true soon,” said Captain Fu Chengqiu, ceo Piraeus Port Authority (PPA), while the 400 m long 59 m wide boxship was berthed alongside.

Currently Piraeus is the 6th largest container port in Europe and the third in the Mediterranean.

Piraeus which connects the modern maritime Silk Road with the land route, has changed impressively since the Cosco Shipping's subsidiary PCT took over the management of piers II and III eight years ago for 35 years. The terminal has been extended and upgraded with new infrastructure projects. It has been linked with the Greek railways network and new gigantic cranes have been installed, while efforts are underway to transform the wider area into a major logistics centre.

Two years ago, Cosco won an international tender to manage the PPA, pledging to further invest in the Greek port and Sino-Greek win-win cooperation. Currently, PCT can service in parallel three such gigantic vessels at piers II and III the works being part of the $283m investment project PCT undertook. PPA has further committed to invest $370m at the port by 2021.

As part of the Belt and Road initiative, the port is being transformed into a significant transit hub for rapidly growing trade between Asia and Europe. “It is evidence the Silk Road, which links the two countries and consequently China to Europe, is progressing and marks the dynamic development of cooperation between the two nations in many sectors,” said Greek Shipping and Island Policy Minister, Panagiotis Kouroumplis, when addressing the event.

Zhang Anming, PCT md , described the event as “a very clear signal to prove Piraeus is a port for world trade”.In 2010 when Cosco's PCT took over management of Piraeus' piers II and III, under 1m teu passed through the terminal. Last year, 4.1m teu were handled, while another 1m teu passed through pier I, which is managed by PPA. Fu’s target for overall traffic is 6m teu by 2019.

Posted 01 March 2018

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David Glass

Greece Correspondent, Seatrade Maritime

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