BEIJING: Within days of the launch of 2018, China Cosco Shipping launched a number of new projects to upgrade Piraeus to further strengthen the Greek port as Asia’s gateway to Eastern and Central Europe.
Since Cosco acquired a majority stake in Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) and assumed management in 2016 after winning an international tender, the image of the port has been changing rapidly, a fact Greek Shipping and Island Policy Minister Panayiotis Kouroublis stressed 4 January on the occasion of the launch of new projects to upgrade Greece's largest port.
Work is well advanced as the port readies to for the arrival from China of the new large floating dock ‘Piraeus III’, at the end of February. The new floating repair dock – 240 m long, 45 m wide, 22,000 tonnes lifting capacity and full crane equipment – will be able to service ships with a capacity of 80,000 tonnes.
He said: “The projects that have started at Perama and will proceed with the lifting of two wrecks off Pier II by the Shipping Ministry, so that the infrastructure for the installation of PPA's large floating dock can be created, show how smoothly the cooperation of the Greek Government with the investors is progressing”.
The once booming Greek shiprepair industry has largely become dormant in recent years but with the arrival of the new dock the government hopes ships will no longer need to carry out repair and maintenance operations in other Mediterranean shipyards, while this move is also expected to create new jobs in the Greek market.
George Koumpenas, VP Operations at Greece’s Celestyal Cruises, welcomed the works as a very positive development, in particular for companies managing passenger ships operating in the region as well as for the Greek shipbuilding industry.
“In recent years, due to a lack of suitable dock sizes, companies have been obliged to dock their vessels in neighbouring countries such as Malta, Turkey and Croatia. This has resulted in the loss of significant revenues for the national economy,” Koumpenas.