Piraeus port has ‘geostrategic’ edge as Greece pushes logistics


The Greek port of Piraeus could become one of Europe’s top five container-shipping hubs as the government spurs logistics activities in a bid to kick-start economic growth, said Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis.

Piraeus, now the 11th-largest container-shipping port in the European Union, is expanding as China-based Cosco Pacific Ltd. operates one of two piers, builds a third and prepares to offer cargo-train shipping to multinational companies including Hewlett-Packard Co. and Huawei Technologies Co.

“Piraeus could become one of the four to five biggest ports in Europe very soon,” Hatzidakis said in a Feb. 20 interview in Brussels.

Greece’s No. 1 port is the focal point of a logistics push by the Greek government as it tries to steer the country out of a six-year recession, battles 28 percent unemployment and seeks to wean itself off 240 billion euros ($329 billion) of international emergency aid.

To help stimulate demand for sea and rail transport near the crossroads of three continents, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s ruling coalition is also preparing to sell a 67 percent stake in Piraeus Port Authority SA and all of rail operator Trainose SA.

PPA runs Pier I at Piraeus -- the first major European container port for ships entering the Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal -- and will be responsible for the western side of the planned Pier III.

“The geostrategic position of Greece is such that we can have development in the area of logistics,” Hatzidakis said. “What the state can do is to give incentives.”

Greece’s economic crisis has helped focus domestic policy makers’ attention on the potential benefits of being a regional transport hub in the way the Netherlands is in northern...

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