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Work continues as planned on Port of Piraeus upgrading

Work on the further development and upgrade of Port of Piraeus, the Greece’s largest harbour, to the benefit of the country and China is proceeding smoothly as planned despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Greek Shipping and Island Policy Minister Ioannis Plakiotakis said last week.

The Minister was commenting in the wake of the Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) concession holder, Cosco Shipping announcing positive results in the volume of commercial activity at Greece’s main port over the first quarter of 2020 despite the coronavirus pandemic. As the Chinese group believes container handling is the best activity for resisting the effects of the recession, it is accelerating its first phase plan to spend $373m on upgrading in Piraeus port.

“The Chinese investment at Piraeus is a strategic investment, which can help the local economy and society. It is a win-win case… We must move forward based on the plan. We should send the message that we are returning to normalcy and investments are progressing smoothly,” the Minister said during a press teleconference.

Hailing “excellent cooperation between the two sides,” Plakiotakis said: “Our government approved within just three months (last autumn) the investors’ revised master plan which foresees at least $672m worth mandatory investments.”

A further, three new projects, which form part of the investment plan Cosco has pledged to implement, are set to enter the tender stage, while the Chinese company will again seek to move closer to the construction of a new, fourth container terminal with a budget of $224m.

It has also been revealed Greece’s Council of State has ruled in favour of the PPA in its case against the Regional Authority of Athens, which had rejected the PPA’s request for a shipyard permit. The issue is particularly sensitive for a considerable number of businesses in the sector, which see such a prospect as a potential threat.

Among the projects under way is the repair of Container Terminal 1: The tender process has just been completed and the contractor is about to be announced. It will be followed by the tenders for the extension of the car terminal, with an original budget of EUR20m, the underground link of the car terminal with the space formerly taken up by the Public Property Management Organisation, to expand the container storage and handling capacity by 80,000sq m ($5.6m), and the deepening of the port ($9m).

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