Piraeus Port Beefs Up Investment Plan, Awaits Greece's Approval
Piraeus Port Authority (PPA), operator of Greece's largest port, has increased its investment plans to attract more business at one of Europe's largest harbours, a government spokesman said on Wednesday.
PPA, majority owned by China's COSCO Shipping , has submitted to Greece's shipping ministry an 800-million-euro plan, government spokesman Stelios Petsas told reporters.
A PPA official told Reuters that a ministerial committee will discuss the plan on Sept. 25 and is likely to approve it, unblocking crucial investments for port infrastructure.
China hopes to turn Piraeus port into its gateway to Europe.
A previous 620-million-euro plan, comprised of mandatory and voluntary investments, including a new cruise ship terminal, a mall and four hotels in the port, had not been approved due to opposition by local communities over the size of the mall.
PPA, which now owns 51% of the port, has to conclude mandatory investments of 300 million euros by 2022 to acquire an additional 16% stake.
PPA had urged the previous government to speed up the approval of the plan or face possible legal action.
The new plan includes additional spending for building and operating a fourth container terminal which will boost Piraeus' total throughput to 10 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) a year from 7.2 million TEUs now, and a much smaller mall, the official said.
(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)