China to Invest in Greek Transport Infrastructure

Posted by Eric Haun
Friday, June 20, 2014
Photo: Piraeus Port

China wants to invest in Greek airports and railways as well as the busiest port, officials said on Friday, as the country where the euro debt crisis began seeks a role as China's gateway into Europe.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is on a three-day trip to Greece to boost economic ties between the nations, who have drawn closer since China's Cosco Paficic won a 35-year concession in 2009 to upgrade and run two cargo piers at the Piraeus port.

Greece, which relies on bailout loans from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, desperately needs foreign investment to spur growth and create jobs as it struggles to exit a six-year recession.

China - which has already submitted a bid to buy a majority stake in Piraeus - is also eyeing the construction of a new 800-million-euro airport in Crete, and the main airport in Athens when the government puts it on sale later this year, Greek officials said. Development Minister Nikos Dendias said the two sides also discussed a high-speed rail project.

"Greece, apart from a sea trade gateway, can also become a transit hub for air transport," Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said. "Ports but also airports, such as the Athens International Airport and the International Airport in Heraklion in Kasteli, are the object of Chinese interest."

Both sides have sought to play up Greece's strategic location at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa, saying the country could become a hub for channelling goods from the world's second-largest economy and top exporter into Europe.

"Piraeus port can become a gateway of China to Europe," Li said during a visit to Cosco's facilities at Piraeus.

Li, who on Thursday promised Greeks his country would remain a "long-term investor" in Greek bonds, on Friday said China would encourage its businesses to cooperate with Greek companies in the ship repair sector.

Greece has the largest shipping fleet in the world, and Greek shipowners transport about 60 percent of China's imported oil and more than half of its exported goods, Greek Shipping Minister Militiadis Varvitsiotis said.

China has been steadily ratcheting up its interest in Greek assets in recent years.

Cosco Pacific has said it wants to turn Piraeus into a regional hub and sought to expand port facilities and construct an oil refuelling jetty, a 230-million euro ($314 million) investment which needs to be approved by the European Comission.

Cosco has also expressed interest in acquiring a 67 percent stake at the port.

Chinese grid operator China State Grid Corp (SGCC) is among five suitors bidding for a controlling stake in Greek power grid operator ADMIE. Chinese conglomerate Fosun is part of a consortium developing the former Athens airport complex called Hellenikon - Greece's biggest privatisation project budgeted at 7 billion euros.

This is the second time a Chinese Premier has visited Greece since Athens acknowledged in 2009 that its finances were in deep trouble.

"The affair between the two economies started in 2004-2008. In 2010 the appetite for trade cooperation was official and now, in 2014, we see that there is a strong will to make it deeper," George Xyradakis, an adviser to the China Development Bank in Greece, told Reuters.

(By Renee Maltezou; Editing by Deepa Babington/Ruth Pitchford)

Maritime Reporter April 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Finance

Japan to Hand Over Data Ahead of Australia Submarine Bid

Japan will agree this month to give Australia classified submarine data, an unprecedented step signalling Tokyo's intent to join competitive bidding to sell Canberra a fleet of stealth subs,

Maersk Issues 'letter of undertaking' to Iran

Maersk Line said on Wednesday it had provided a letter of undertaking in relation to uncollected cargo that has led to the seizure by Iranian authorities of the vessel Maersk Tigris.

Iran: Maersk Boxhip Dispute Near Settlement

Iran said on Wednesday a legal settlement could be reached soon over its seizure of the Marshall-Islands flagged Maersk Tigris container ship in the Strait of Hormuz last month,

News

Shell Declares Force Majeure on Forcados Crude Exports

Shell has declared force majeure on exports of Nigeria's Forcados crude oil stream, a spokesman for the company said on Wednesday.   It declared force majeure

IMCA Publishes Security, Emergency Guidance

The threat to maritime security from piracy, terrorism, criminal acts, and hostage and kidnapping threats continues to pose challenges to ships’ owners, masters and crew members,

Modernization for Two Swedish Icebreakers

Protacon, a company based in Jyväskylä, Finland, informs it has received an order from Swedish Maritime Administration for the modernization of electric and automation systems of two icebreakers.

Government Update

US Navy Settles Environmental Violations

A settlement between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Navy will help reduce potentially harmful discharges of ozone-depleting substances and ensure

Japan to Hand Over Data Ahead of Australia Submarine Bid

Japan will agree this month to give Australia classified submarine data, an unprecedented step signalling Tokyo's intent to join competitive bidding to sell Canberra a fleet of stealth subs,

IMO’s MEPC Set to Adopt Polar Code Provisions

Polar Code environmental provisions set for adoption at IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee   The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Offshore Oil Pipelines Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1575 sec (6 req/sec)