Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) concession holder, Cosco Shipping reports a positive result 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 planned Euro 333m ($373m) investments in Piraeus port.

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 Euro 200m.

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 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 Euro 20m, the underground link of the car terminal with the space formerly taken up by the Public Property Management Organisation (ODDY) to expand the container storage and handling capacity by 80,000sqmtrs (Euro 5m), and the deepening of the port (Euro 8m).

The PPA is also implementing the project to expand the cruise terminal, a Euro 100m plan co-funded by the Attica Region’s budget. Therefore, along with Terminal 4, Cosco is trying to carry out forward the planned investments of some Euro 333m 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 1.369m teu in the first quarter of the year against 1.334m teu last year, across its three terminals. While handling was reduced at terminals 2 and 3, it grew at terminal 1. Meanwhile, media reports point to April showing some signs of recovery compared to March, so the January-April data is also expected be positive.

Filed: 2020-05-04