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 August 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Finance

Knightsbridge Closes Vessel Acquisition Transaction

Bermuda-based Knightsbridge Tankers Limited announced that it has closed the first stage of its vessel acquisition transaction. Knightsbridge has issued 31 million

Maersk Sells Ven Drilling Barges

Danish shipping conglomerate A.P. Moller-Maersk said on Tuesday its offshore oil and gas drilling unit has sold its Venezuelan barge activities. Maersk Drilling

Trelleborg Report Optimistic for Port Investment

The latest 'Barometer Report' from Trelleborg's marine operations business sector, discusses the issues impacting ports and terminals around the globe, and reveals

News

Knightsbridge Closes Vessel Acquisition Transaction

Bermuda-based Knightsbridge Tankers Limited announced that it has closed the first stage of its vessel acquisition transaction. Knightsbridge has issued 31 million

Majority of Global Tanker Fleet Yet to Adopt ECDIS

UKHO calls on tanker owners and operators to ensure compliance with SOLAS rules on ECDIS carriage from July 1, 2015 The majority of ships in the global tanker fleet have yet to adopt ECDIS,

Survey Vessel Delivered to Fugro N.V.

Fugro Pioneer is the second of three vessels to be delivered to Fugro in 2014. Fugro has taken delivery of the second of the three Fugro Offshore Coastal Survey

Government Update

Haze and Reduced Visibility at Singapore Ports

Due to the presence of haze, the Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore Port Marine in their Notice No.113 of 2014 dated 15 September 2014 have informed the

CAGTC Members Win Big in TIGER VI

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced Friday that 72 projects will receive a total of $600 million from the sixth round of the Transportation

Leaky Equipment, Not Fracking, Behind Tainted US Water -Study

The contamination of water supplies near U.S. shale gas fields appears to be the result of leaky cement wells and casings and not the controversial production technique of hydraulic fracturing,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Naval Architecture Navigation Pipelines Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | 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: 0.1096 sec (9 req/sec)