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Cosco, the owner of Piraeus Port Authority (OLP), achieved a positive result in the volume of commercial activity at Greece’s main port over the first quarter of the year despite the coronavirus pandemic. As the Chinese group has observed that container handling is the best activity for resisting the effects of the recession, it is accelerating its investments in Piraeus port.
A total of three new projects, which form part of the investments Cosco has pledged to implement, are set to enter the tender stage, while the Chinese owners will again seek to move closer to the construction of a new, fourth container terminal with a budget of 200 million euros.
It was also revealed this week that the Council of State has ruled in favor of OLP in its case against the Regional Authority of Attica, which had rejected its 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 €20 million), the underground link of the car terminal with the space formerly taken up by the Public Property Management Organization (ODDY) to expand the container storage and handling capacity by 80,000 square meters (€5 million), and the deepening of the port (€8 million).
OLP is also implementing the project to expand the cruise terminal, a €100 million plan co-funded by the Attica Region’s budget. Therefore, along with Terminal 4, Cosco is trying to carry out investments of 350 million euros in total in the midst of the pandemic, some of them being obligatory and others supplementary.
Despite the great decline in international trade due to Covid-19, Piraeus managed to marginally increase the number of containers handled on an annual basis to 1.369 million twenty-foot equivalent units (teu) in the first quarter of the year against 1.334 teu last year, across its three terminals. While handling was reduced at terminals 2 and 3, it grew at Terminal 1. Company sources told Kathimerini that April showed some signs of recovery compared to March, so the January-April data will also be positive.
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