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Monday, 03 August 2015

Greece drafts new law to sell Piraeus stake by September

The Greek government has progressed plans to sell a 51% stake in the Port of Piraeus by September with the publication of a new timetable and draft law designed to support the second phase of tender, local media reports.

The privatisation of Greece’s largest port has been mired in difficulties due to the macro-economic problems the country faces from its escalating debt crisis and political wrangling with EU bankers.

The proposed law aims to ease the bidding process for the majority stakeholding with  the aid of  a master concession contract between the government and the Piraeus Port Authority (PPA). This will offer exclusive rights of use and exploitation of land, buildings and infrastructure.

It is envisioned that property rights will remain in the Greek state and port authorities will pay 2.0% of turnover in exchange for the concession contract.

As one of the major gateway ports to Europe, Piraeus is of key importance for shipping lines and will likely be a prize acquisition for the winning bidder.

The PPA currently runs Pier I at the port while Cosco operates Pier II and III via its subsidiary Piraeus Container Terminal (PCT). Strong links with Asia have helped volumes at the port increase eight-fold since 2008.

Development work is currently planned to expand capacity of Piers II and III at the port to 6.2 million TEUs annually from 3.7 million. Upgrade work is also planned to improve infrastructure and rail links between Piraeus and European destinations such as Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Chinese terminal operator, Cosco has previously been touted as the lead bidder for the concession but the tender is now expected to extend to Danish operator APM Terminals and Filipino firm ICTSI.

China has invested heavily in the Greece’s port sector as part of its ambitious $41 billion ‘Maritime Silk Road’ project, which aims to strengthen its presence from Asia through Southeastern Europe and .

According to research consultancies Baker & McKenzie and the Rhodium Group, Chinese investment in the country increased from $2 billion in 2010 to a massive $18 billion in 2014.


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