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Chinese state-owned TV channel highlights role of Piraeus Port in Maritime Silk Road

The Eastern Mediterranean’s largest port, Piraeus, was the star of the recent China Global Television Network (CGTN) report ‘Where the maritime silk road meets land’.

“We consider the Piraeus terminals a pioneer of Chinese investments in Greece,” said Tassos Vamvakidis, commercial manager at Piraeus Container Terminal S.A. which is controlled under a 35-year concession agreement by Cosco Shipping. Cosco also holds a majority stake in the Athens Stock Exchange-listed Piraeus Port Authority

Since taking over the concession to operate the port container terminals II and III in at the tail end of 2010, the Cosco subsidiary has turned Piraeus from a port handling less than 1m teu annually into one now handling over 4m teu and a major terminal for vessels traveling from Asia to Europe.

Many of the containers discharged in Piraeus are in transit and subsequently delivered to central and eastern European by ship and by rail. Some 10 express trains depart from Piraeus every week for destinations throughout central and eastern Europe, passing through Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

“Piraeus is a strategic location for us to provide rapid transportation services. We have provided high efficiency services for our customers,” said Su Xudong, md at Cosco Shipping Lines Greece.


Read more:Cosco aims to make Piraeus top container port in the Med

To boost efficiency, the firm established a new subsidiary last year just to handle the railway business. The subsidiary commits to localisation. Among its 140 employees, only four are Chinese, thus providing work for local people.

Addressing concerns Chinese investment may take over the market in the area, the company’s manager says she doesn’t think so. “There is growth of business, and this is applied to all of Europe, not just Greece. In my opinion, what the Chinese government is attempting is a healthy investment.”

Su said: “The entire service chain, including our equipment and staff, we all rely on local resources. We never thought of dominating the market. We vow to have an open market based on the idea of mutual benefit.”

Cosco is “investing and building infrastructure, which benefits my country”, Varvara Skavatsou, manager of the control-rail tower department at Cosco Shipping Lines Greece, said.

Su told CGTN the demand at the Piraeus itself is small. But thanks to the connectivity, the trade volume has increased. And as for Chinese exporters, they benefit from convenient services.

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