China’s port operator Cosco Group (Hong Kong) Limited has received approval for a new concession agreement at the port of Piraeus, one of the largest Greek ports, according to Reuters.
The approval follows the signing of an agreement with the TAIPED (Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund) for the transfer of a majority stake in Piraeus Port Authority in April.
Cosco Group submitted a binding offer for the 67 percent stake in Piraeus Port Authority offering a price of EUR 22 per share, ie EUR 368.5 million (USD 402.3 million) in January, which the fund approved in February.
The company’s initial offer was rejected as the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund informed the company that it needed to improve its proposal.
As the Piraeus port shareholders approved the concession agreement on Friday, the deal now needs to receive an approval from parliament and the competition watchdog.
The Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) and Thessaloniki Port Authority (THPA) are being privatized as part of the country’s bailout plan.
Thessaloniki, the second biggest port in Greece, seems to have attracted interest from Russia, as the country’s President earlier revealed his intention to bid for the port, which is being privatized under the same terms as the port of Piraeus.
Greece plans to invite investors to submit binding bids for a majority stake in the port in Thessaloniki at the end of September.
However, the situation in Greece does not look so bright as the Port of Piraeus Dockworkers’ Union launched repeated 48-hour strikes in May to voice their opposition to the privatization of the country’s two biggest ports, the Piraeus and Thessaloniki.
The strikes, launched due to the workers’ fears that the privatization could cost them their jobs, could lead to complete stoppages at the port and could spread from the Piraeus port to other ports in the country.
The country’s cruise ship operators have already expressed their concerns over a possible lasting impact on the sector from the ongoing strike. The cruise ship operators are reportedly expecting a EUR 10 million impact in Piraeus only for June, Reuters cited head of the Greek cruise ship owners association as saying.
The dockers’ strike is preventing cruise ships from docking, resulting in a change of their course to other destinations, mostly heading to Turkey, Italy or other Greek ports.
World Maritime News Staff