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Cosco aims for top 30 global boxport status for Piraeus

Cosco aims for top 30 global boxport status for Piraeus
Container traffic overseen by China's Cosco in the Greek port of Piraeus continues on its record breaking way, further consolidating its position as the main pillar of the Chinese group’s overseas activity and the port’s new owner intends to build on this.

Piraeus port’s new md, Fu Cheng Qiu, has set out his target for Greece’s biggest port to be placed among the world’s 30 largest container hubs.

Fu told Reuters the terminal operator, Cosco Shipping Ports (CSP), plans to increase container volume in Piraeus 35% by 2018 to 5m teu, under its plan to turn Greece into a transhipment hub for rapidly growing trade between Asia and Eastern Europe.

Cosco, which controls the world’s fourth-largest container ship fleet, officially took over a 51% majority stake in the port last month for EUR280.5m ($315.5m). In five years it will get another 16% having pledged to make total investments of around EUR300m, largely focusing on ship repair and cruise operations.

“If we reach that level [of containers]... Piraeus port would be among the world’s 30 largest container ports,” said Fu.

Privatization of Piraeus was the most controversial deal in the years of crisis for Greece. Labour unions have opposed the Cosco takeover fearing job losses and wage cuts under the new administration.

Fu said: “Cosco is very careful and very serious about these issues and is handling them in line with the law.”

Meanwhile, official data released mid-month, showed the Piraeus terminals II and III operated by the Hong Kong-listed CSP handled 329,600 teu in August, up 32.3% from the same month in 2015. In August last year the negative impact of the strict capital controls had started to become clear and total traffic was just 249,100teu.

Records were broken each month in the 2016 summer, with 314,000 teu in June and 323,300 teu in July.
 On top of this terminal I, which until August when Cosco moved was controlled by the Piraeus Port Authority is set to now chip in with another 200,000 teu annually.

Further, a new 300,000 dwt capacity floating dock is making its way, to Piraeus from Shanghai, to become the centre piece of a large ship repair base, planned by port’s the new owners. Such a dock would be among the largest in the region, capable of handling almost any ship afloat.