Pireaus Port gets new lease of life 13 years after Chinese acquisition CCTV 2023-09-28 08:56

The Port of Piraeus has achieved overwhelming development over the past 10-plus years thanks to improved management following its acquisition by Chinese shipping firm COSCO.

Vasilios Michail, a dockworker at the port, has experienced its ups and downs in person. His father joined the port as a worker in 1966 when it was totally nothing like what is seen today.

Vasilios followed in his father's footsteps and also became a dockworker.

However, by 2009, like many in Greece, his family was facing a crisis.

"In 2009 and 2010, when the economic crisis started, due to the banking restrictions, things in Greece weren't good. There were food shortages. It was tough. Many of my colleagues and relatives lost their jobs. They couldn't pay their rent. The situation was very difficult," he recalled.

If a port is not operating properly, the entire supply chain is affected.

George Ferousis runs a century-old Athens-based stationery business. He couldn't help grumbling about the late deliveries of goods in the old days.

"I'll never forget one time when we were importing Christmas items. Due to a strike at the Port of Piraeus, the ship couldn't enter and had to unload in Malta. We received the goods after the New Year. But they were Christmas items, which we should have received in October," he said.

Amid the gathering gloom, a bright light appeared.

"Before COSCO came, deliveries were unreliable. In other words, things often went wrong. Thanks to COSCO, all that has ended. Their delivery standards are very high," he said.

In 2009, COSCO signed a 35-year contract to operate two piers at the port. This marked the rebirth of the millennia-old harbor.

"COSCO has been extremely supportive. It has done so much for Greece's import sector, thanks to the infrastructure it's developed. Large 18,000-container capacity ships can now enter the port. In the old days, it couldn't handle them, so they went to other ports elsewhere in the world. As you know, this alone reduces the travel time between China and Greece by 10 days," said Michail.

Lying 10 kilometers to the southwest of Athens, the port has been transformed into a key transport hub at the crossroads of Asia, Europe and Africa.

"In the past few years, especially since COSCO's acquisition, we've achieved significant development at the Port of Piraeus. In terms of container throughput, we now occupy a prominent position as a leading container hub in the Mediterranean. Comparing our current status to 2010 when we began our investment in Piraeus, we've witnessed fivefold revenue growth," said Zhang Zhiming, general manager of the port's public relations department.

The flagship project has been hailed as an exemplary success story under China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) by business insiders and observers alike.

China Global Television Network (CGTN) on Sept. 15 launched a 15-part documentary series, "The Call of the Silk Road," with the first stop is Indonesia.

The documentary explores how technology is impacting this archipelago-state and how China is contributing to its rise through the Belt and Road Initiative.

Source: CCTV

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Xinde Marine News.

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