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The two major ports have to be sold

26 January 2013 / 16:01:16  GRReporter
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The International Maritime Union joined opponents of granting a concession for the operation of Greek ports and declared that the Union is "for" their sale. At a time when at least two of the major ports in the country (Piraeus and Thessaloniki) fall under the interest of large maritime holdings around the world, and when the decision of the State Office for Private Property Use must be taken soon, the President of The International Maritime Union, Yiannis Hatziantoniou, said that the Union is "for" their privatisation. "As to the planned privatisation of the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki, the opinion of the Union is "for" the privatisation of services-providers of port services, which should have happened more promptly and without delay," said Hatziantoniou. He stressed that the ports should not be divided into parts that can be sold separately, but that each port should be sold to a company which will be defined after certain international competitions.

Sources from the Ministry of Maritime Navigation are of the opposite opinion, however, claiming that, according to the Memorandum, Greece is obliged to grant concessions for the operation of ports. The government, however, avoided details and just mentioned that many companies have expressed interest, and that the State Office for Private Property Use will take the final decision. As to the interest of the Cosco company to participate in the competition for the acquisition of a controlling stake in the port of Piraeus, Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras remarked laconically only that Cosco had expressed interest in increasing its investment in the port.

Yesterday, the ports' clients asked Secretary General of Ports of the Ministry of Maritime Costas Moundzouris that the government immediately resort to privatisation of the ports, having already lost valuable time due to the tight merger of the ports and of the state, which has led to delayed development and investments. They gave an example with Cosco company's management of the second pier of the freight port. They noted that the large investments in construction works and the new (for Greece) organisation and functioning of the port, have already given results.

Yiannis Hatziantoniou emphasised that Greek ports should provide modern services for the rapid and orderly transportation of cargo, high productivity, reduction of the time of servicing, security, implementation of advanced technology systems, competitive pricing of services, linkage to road and rail routes, simplified Customs and other procedures, as well as implementation of integrated customer-oriented logistics systems. Hatziantoniou characterised as particularly important the recent tripartite agreement for commercial cooperation between Cosco, Hewlett Packard and the Greek State Railways for the transportation of HP products through the terminal of Piraeus cargo port and by trains of the State Railways. This cooperation should turn the port of Piraeus into a main hub port and entrance-exit of Southeast Europe.

Tags: Port of Piraeus Thessaloniki Port privatisation concession The International Maritime Union
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