Pi­raeus, Med’s big­gest port, plans next de­vel­op­ment steps

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY ILIAS BELLOS

With 16.54 mil­lion pas­sen­gers in 2015, Pi­raeus is the big­gest coastal ship­ping port among 69 or­ga­nized ports in the Mediter­ranean, ac­cord­ing to data com­piled by MedCruise, while the new man­age­ment of Pi­raeus Port Au­thor­ity (OLP), con­trolled by the Cosco Group since last year, is prepar­ing to add to its real es­tate as a part of its gen­eral up­grad­ing plan.

Start­ing from this year, Greece’s main port will un­dergo a gen­eral facelift in terms of its in­fra­struc­ture as a part of OLP’s in­vest­ment plan that pro­vides for ex­pen­di­ture on im­prove­ment and main­te­nance to­tal­ing 15 mil­lion euros in 2017.

Kathimerini un­der­stands that in the medium term, OLP’s new man­age­ment will im­ple­ment a de­vel­op­ment plan for the port’s real es­tate that it is cur­rently draft­ing. This will con­cern shops and re­cep­tion and wait­ing ar­eas, as well as the de­vel­op­ment of a ho­tel com­plex.

This planned utiliza­tion of the port zone’s real es­tate is ex­pected to en­cour­age pas­sen­gers and other visi­tors to spend more time at the port of Pi­raeus, whose passen- ger traf­fic is by far the high­est in the Mediter­ranean – more than twice that of Naples, in dis­tant sec­ond place: The Ital­ian port had 6.32 mil­lion pas­sen­gers in 2015, ac­cord­ing to the an­nual study of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Mediter­ranean Cruise Ports (MedCruise), pre­sented this week at the Seatrade Cruise Global 2017 fair in Fort Laud­erdale, Florida.

The re­port showed that Greece recorded the sec­ond high­est coastal ship­ping traf­fic in the Mediter­ranean (after Italy) in 2015, with 25.2 mil­lion pas­sen­gers – the fig­ures for 2016 are not avail­able yet. Italy and Greece cov- er 70 per­cent of the to­tal coastal ship­ping traf­fic in the Med, ac­count­ing for 37.3 per­cent and 32.7 per­cent re­spec­tively.

A sig­nif­i­cant fac­tor con­tribut­ing to Pi­raeus’s huge pas­sen­ger num­bers is its link with the Sa­ronic is­lands, par­tic­u­larly nearby Salam­ina. It is also the main port link­ing continental Greece with hun­dreds of is­lands in the Aegean.

OLP’s coastal ship­ping turnover last year amounted to about 10.34 mil­lion euros, al­most on a par with the year be­fore, while net prof­its from this ac­tiv­ity reached 1.59 mil­lion euros in 2016, up 45 per­cent from 2015.

Start­ing from this year, Greece’s main port will un­dergo a gen­eral facelift as a part of OLP’s in­vest­ment plan that pro­vides for ex­pen­di­ture on im­prove­ment and main­te­nance to­tal­ing 15 mil­lion euros in 2017.

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