China believes that both governments are willing to continue working together ...”
Greece’s new government has halted the privatization of the country’s biggest port Piraeus, a state selloff in which China Ocean Shipping (Group) Co had already expressed a strong interest.
COSCO, the world’s secondshipping company, and four other suitors were seen as potential buyers of a 67 percent stake in Piraeus Port Authority OLP last year under the scheme agreed by the previous government.
The head of COSCO’s media office in Beijing said the company was closely following the Greek government’s move on Tuesday and that it still wished to compete in the deal.
Chen Yingming, executive vice-president of Shanghaibased China Port and Harbors Association, hoped that the newly elected Athens government would reconsider its decision on Piraeus, and seek what he called effective solutions from COSCO to create more jobs, adding that current market conditions strongly favored a privatization of select Greek state-owned assets.
“Piraeus Port will definitely become a gateway for China’s trade and investment to Europe if this deal can be sealed by the Chinese company,” said Chen.
“The Greek government should be aware that developing its port business with COSCO means more Chinese investment can be made in infrastructure and related service projects in Greece.”
COSCO Pacific Ltd, a subsidiary of COSCO Group, the fifth-largest container terminal operator in the world, has already invested 4.3 billion euros ($5.9 billion) in a 35-year management lease for the No 2 and No 3 piers at Piraeus Port, which it has been operating since June 2010.
Piraeus Container Terminal, part of COSCO Pacific, signed a revised investment agreement in November