“It’s our responsibility to scrutinize the current reality. People choosing to holiday on a cruise always seek in the package they book to visit a port offering duty free goods,” Kouroublis said, adding that he will discuss the idea with his counterpart at the economy ministry.
Kouroublis said that introducing duty free sales at island ports will make cruise travel to Greece competitive, adding that Greece can benefit from the limited activity of rivals Turkey and Egypt.
Kouroublis also referred to the port of Thessaloniki, noting that the transfer process is near completion. “We are close to completing the transfer of administration so that the managers will implement their plans and put forth the investments required in order for the port to evolve into a hub connecting the Mediterranean, the Middle East with the Balkans and Central Europe.”
A consortium of three companies – Deutsche Invest Equity Partners GmbH, Belterra Investments Ltd (controlled by Ivan Savvidis, owner of Greek football team PAOK) and CMA CGM’s Terminal Link – was awarded a 67 percent stake in the Thessaloniki Port Authority. The port’s new managers aim to transform it into a commercial hub of the Balkans, creating synergies with ports in Bulgaria, Skopje and Romania, as well as tapping into combined transport throughout the transport chain.