Syriza Bins Piraeus Port Sale, Targets Shipping Sector
Greece’s new government led by the left-wing party Syriza plans to stop the sale of a majority stake in the Port of Piraeus, for which the old government already shortlisted China Ocean Shipping Company (Cosco) and four other companies, Reuters reports.
Thodoris Dritsas, Syriza party member believed to be the next minister for shipping, told Reuters that the Cosco deal is going to be ”reviewed to the benefit of Greek people.”
The previous government planned to sell a 67 percent stake in Pireaus Port Authority as part of the privatisation plan created with international lenders.
Cosco currently operates two piers at the Piraeus Container Terminal, and has recently started the construction of the third pier.
During the Pier III inauguration ceremony, the Prime Minister of Greece Antonis Samaras described the PCT project as the most important investment in Greece in the last decade.
Prior to the elections, Syriza issued a policy paper which insisted on a ”new national agreement” with the shipping industry, including cutting a number of tax breaks. Syriza also said that the shipping sector will have to bear the heaviest burden to lift the country out of the crisis.
This turn in the attitude towards domestic shipping prompted several Greek shippers to warn that this new course set out by Syriza might lead to higher taxes which the shipping industry cannot afford.
Some shipowners threatened to limit their domestic operations or move altogether to another country if the deal with the new government is not reached.
World Maritime News Staff