The port of Piraeus seems to have resisted the pandemic of the coronavirus.
This is because the container traffic in the first quarter of 2020 showed a small increase, while April and May showed steady growth. So everything shows, as Handelsblatt records, that there are no signs of a recession in the port of Piraeus. The port continues to be a success story, as in 2019 it had the first place in the Mediterranean, based on the movement of containers, with the port of Valencia in Spain in 2nd place.
Chinese Cosco is even investing about 300 million euros for the further expansion of the port in Piraeus. "The coronavirus crisis is not changing our agreement with the public sector and we are moving forward with the investments, as planned," Nektarios Demenopoulos, a spokesman for the PPA, told Handelsblatt. The investment concerns the expansion of the terminal for the transport of cars and the modernization of the older Pier I. In addition, despite the coronavirus, PPA remains true to its design for a new cruise terminal, five-star hotels and a shopping center. The Greek construction company TEKAL undertook the project worth 136 million euros at the beginning of February.
The text of Handelsblatt for the port of Piraeus
The new piers to be built are designed for cruise ships 390m long. In this way, the port of Piraeus will improve its position in the cruise sector in the Eastern Mediterranean. So far, most cruise ships have departed from Italian ports. "According to experts, the cruise industry will return to pre-crisis levels in 2 to 3 years. This is our timetable for the completion of the expansion of the cruise ship terminal ", adds Mr. Demenopoulos.
The plan for the 4th container pier in the port of Piraeus
At the beginning of 2020, there were plans to build a fourth container pier in the port of Piraeus. Due to the coronavirus, however, the plans remain uncertain. "It is difficult to talk about future plans under the current circumstances," Demenopoulos said. "Our primary goal is to make the most of the existing opportunities. In this way, we will defend our ranking in fourth place in Europe," said the PPA spokesman.
In addition, according to Handelsblatt, the port of Piraeus could surpass the port of Hamburg (Germany) which is in 3rd place, based on current sizes, and then only Antwerp (Belgium) and Rotterdam (Netherlands) will precede. It has already left behind competitors such as Bremen (Germany), Algesiras (Spain) and Valencia (Spain).
"Piraeus Port: The Dragon's Head in Europe"
Cosco arrived in the port of Piraeus 12 years ago, in 2008. In 2016, Cosco bought 51% of the PPA from the Greek state for 368.5 million euros. The agreement stipulates that the Chinese group will be able to acquire an additional 16% stake by 2021. Chinese Cosco has raised traffic in the port of Piraeus, ranking 1st in the Mediterranean and 4th in Europe in terms of container traffic. .
Chinese analysts refer to the port of Piraeus as "the dragon's head in Europe". This is because Piraeus is the most important port in Europe in the Mediterranean, where cargo ships pass through the Far East, after transitting the Suez Canal. This makes the port of Piraeus an ideal hub for China's "One Belt, One Road" project, the "New Silk Road", through which Chinese President Xi Jinping wants to conquer European markets and gain policy influence.
Cosco's profits from Piraeus
The containers that arrive from Asia to the port of Piraeus are transported for distribution to other Mediterranean ports or transported by rail to the Balkans, Central and Eastern Europe. Therefore, Greece can take advantage of Cosco's dynamics and become the most important transport hub in SE Europe.
Cosco makes significant profits from the port of Piraeus. In 2019, the turnover of PPA increased by 12%, to almost 150 million euros. Net profit stood at 35.3m euros, up 27%. In addition, the success of the port of Piraeus is credited to the Greek Ministry of Finance, which received 5.4 million euros from the concession fees in 2020