To the Greek, the Port of Piraeus holds a historic significance and their choice in selling the controlling interest to the Chinese Government owned company, COSCO Shipping is turning out to be a good choice. The port had always been the largest port in modern Greece, serving as the source of supply for the industrial hub that grew out of Piraeus. It is the largest in terms of passenger traffic (third largest in the world) in continental Europe with traffic of about 20 million passengers annually.
The journey towards the privatization of the port started in 2008 when COSCO obtained a 35-year controlling right over two container terminals within the port. Then fast forward to 2019 and COSCO had got majority control over the administration of the port. The deal gave COSCO 67 per cent controlling right on the Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) for 418.9 million U.S. dollars. In addition to this, it would also be paying an annual fee to the Greek government for the period of the deal.
The after effect of the deal is not lost on independent observers as the fortune of the port has changed for good. The port is now rated to be the fastest growing container port in the world by PortEconomics. The port is now ranked 36th in the Lloyd’s list of the world biggest ports. It used to be at a dismal 93rd position in 2016. It is ranked seventh among Europe’s largest ports- it’s old position used to be 11th.
The hope for growth is very high with planned completion of works on Pier III. With this, the cargo capacity and the volume at the port is expected to climb higher to about 7.2 million TEUs in late 2019.