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China and Greece look to strengthen commercial ties

China and Greece look to strengthen commercial ties

Athens: Greece's Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has hailed shipping's role in strengthening co-operation between China and Greece, reports Greek shipping intelligence newsletter Newsfront.

Speaking at the July 27 naming ceremony in Piraeus of one of the world's largest and newest container ships, the Greek-owned Cosco Hellas, Karamanlis said shipping is a vehicle that could drive greater trade ties between the two nations, now amounting to about $2bn a year. He said co-operation between Greece and China presented mutual benefits for both across a wide range of activities including, shipbuilding, commerce, tourism, agriculture, sport and cultural events.

The Cosco Hellas is the last of a series of five 9,500teu container ships built for Costamare Shipping by Hyundai HI in South Korea and chartererd for 12 years to Cosco Container Lines (Coscon). All ships fly the Greek flag.

Capt Wei Jiafu, president and ceo of the Cosco Group, said the event at the Ikonio container terminal underlined China's desire for Greece to have a big part in his country's commercial ambitions. 'These five ships take our relations to a new stage,' he said, adding that Cosco is interested in investing in the Piraeus container terminal as the company sees Greece's location as ideal as it develops trade in the Balkans and surrounding region.

Shipping relations between the two countries have moved forward quickly since the January visit of the Prime Minister Karamanlis to China. 'We opened a liner service to Greece in April and now we have regular calls,' noted Capt Wei.  [31/07/06]