Greece’s largest port, Piraeus, will be able to handle larger cruise ships and establish itself as a home port once construction works on a new terminal are completed, authorities said during the launch ceremony on Tuesday.
Budgeted at approximately 136 million euros, to be jointly funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Regional Operational Program Attica 2014-2020, the project includes the expansion of the cruise terminal to the south and an additional two berthing positions for next generation cruise ships exceeding 280 meters in length.
Greek construction firm Tekal SA will be undertaking the project with a timetable for completion set at 32 months.
“The completion of the works mark a new beginning for Greece, which is strengthening Piraeus’ position on the global cruise tourism map,” said Greek Shipping Minister Yiannis Plakiotakis during the event.
The minister added that approximately 26 million passengers visit the Mediterranean on cruise ships every year, 1.1 million of which go through Piraeus port.
Plakiotakis also announced that 600 million euros worth of works are set to be implemented at the port, “improving the competitiveness of the economy and benefiting Piraeus, its citizens and society”.
The minister added that further developing marine tourism was a top government priority with the ultimate aim to establish Piraeus as a home port.
Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis underlined the importance of Piraeus as a home port attracting more visitors and contributing to the “development of new destinations and to the better utilization of existing locations”.
Also attending the event were representatives of major cruise companies, shipping firms, chambers, and associations.
“Cosco Shipping has a holistic development plan for the port of Piraeus. Our goal is to improve all port activities, and the expansion of the passenger port will enhance the cruise sector not only for Piraeus but for the whole Greece,” said Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) Chairman Yu Zenggang.
“With respect to the environment, local communities, and our citizens, we aim for Piraeus to become a global cruise hub and to establish Attica as a international tourist and health destination,” said Attica Governor George Patoulis.
Other upgrade projects slated for the port of Piraeus include a new warehouse, the construction of a five-storey parking space, the purchase of eco buses, the revamp of the landmark Pagoda building into a 5-star hotel and conference center, the conversion of two existing warehouses into 4- and 5-star hotels, and the creation of a 5-star hotel in the Porto Leone position.