Chinese shipping giant Cosco will dish out some 500 million euros over and above the paying price for the port of Piraeus, its managing director, Xu Lirong, said this week during talks with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who is in China on an official five-day visit to attract investments.
Aiming to transform Piraeus into the Mediterranean’s most competitive port, Cosco Group signed a 368.5-million-euro agreement earlier this year with Greek privatization fund TAIPED for a majority stake – 67 percent – in Piraeus Port Authority (OLP).
Mr Lirong told PM Tsipras during the latter’s visit to Cosco headquarters in Shanghai, that his company’s priority is boosting the cruise sector and in this direction has already contacted major players in efforts to get them to use Piraeus as a home port.
With an additional 200-million-euro investment, Cosco will fund the expansion and modernization of the port in order to cater to large cruise ships and accommodate more passengers with the target of 3 million per year. Mr Lirong went on to add that additional funds will also go towards the upgrade of port infrastructure for the improved handling of containers, with a goal to make Piraeus the largest handler in the Mediterranean.
“The relations between the two countries is moving up a level,” Mr Tsipras said during the meeting. “We have moved on to a new level after the completion of the agreement with Cosco. Greece and China’s strategic plans coincide. Greece being the first stop on China’s road to the EU can become a bridge between China and the Western World, between Asia and Europe,” Mr Tsipras said.
The Greek prime minister also met with Jack Ma, executive chairman of Alibaba, the Chinese online sales platform serving over 10 million small business customers and 423 million users to discuss a collaboration in Greece.