Greece’s deputy prime minister, Yanis Dragasakis, also told China’s official state news service Xinhua that the government will sell its majority share in the port. Dragasakis said that Cosco, which already operates two out of three container terminals in Piraeus, and other bidders “can make a very competitive offer”. It is understood that Maersk’s subsidiary, APM Terminals, and Philippines-based International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) are also in the running.
Industry sources who spoke to CM indicate that although the minister of shipping, Thodoris Dritsas, still opposes the planned sale, “the prime minister has given the green light”. CM also understands that while the privatisation is expected to go ahead, the share of the port authority being sold could be 51% rather than the 67% publicly quoted.
Although the new leftist Syriza government initially signalled its intent to block the privatisation, considerable pressure over reforms necessary for EU financing could see the Greeks change their course. Greece will run out of money by April 20 unless it receives fresh aid from its EU-IMF creditors according to Reuters.
The reversal decision is thought to be unpopular amongst certain government elements and the port union of Greece has asked for a meeting with both the deputy prime minister and the minister of shipping in order to clarify the situation. In addition to the €500m (US$545m), the government also expects further investments in ship-repair facilities, rail links, and cruise and ferry docks that could create thousands of jobs.
Source: Container magazine