Ensuring that the sale of a 67 percent stake in the Thessaloniki port authority moves ahead swiftly and trouble free tops the agenda of Greece’s new incoming shipping minister Panagiotis Kouroumblis.
The former interior minister who was sworn in to his new post at the Ministry of Shipping & Island Policy earlier today, said his priority was the completion of the sale tender for the Thessaloniki Port Authority. The sale is part of Greece’s bailout program as a step towards economic recovery and return to markets.
The final phase of the competition has been set for February 2017 with the government concerned about the size of the investment, which started off at 300-350 million euros, dropped to 250 million euros and this year as announced by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras came down to 180 million euros. Meanwhile, according to media reports, interested parties have said they will not invest more than 120 million euros over a 10-year period in the project.
Other burning issues on the new minister’s (photo) agenda include maritime labor agreements in efforts to reduce unemployment; coastal shipping, remote island routes and fare policy; changes to the cabotage framework; strengthening Greece as a cruise hub; the country’s representation at international forums; assisting the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping to develop a maritime cluster.
Additionally, the minister will also have to examine the intervention by the European Commission’s competition authority in the tax framework implemented for Greek shipping, which is currently overseen by the finance ministry.