By A. Tsimplakis
The Cosco-managed Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) is ready to declare an international tender for an 80K-ton floating dock to dramatically boost its ship repair presence in the greater Piraeus area.
Despite certain delays in OLP's planning to date, mostly attributed to "hiccups" from the initial privatization process, the next steps in a strategic business plan for Greece's biggest and busiest port deal with boosting cruise ship arrivals, inaugurating a logistics center, expanding into the ship repair zone, a new car terminal and repairs to the Pier I at the container port. The coming upgrades were specifically mentioned during an annual briefing at the Association of Institutional Investors over OLP's results, and specifically for 2016.
The investment plan that was approved last October by OLP's board of directors reaches 137.5 million euros for 2017 alone, part of mandatory investments included in the concession contract between the Greek state and shipping giant China Cosco Shipping Corp. Ltd. The Shanghai-based multinational has also promised greater investments on top of the sum included in the contract, with the Chinese side repeatedly pledging to turn the port of Piraeus into the biggest such facility in the Mediterranean.
OLP plans to add six new cruise ship slots at the port, including docking space for the biggest such vessels plying the world's seas, while building a new logistics center over a 12-hectare tract of land outside the actual port and to the north, in the Ano Liosia industrial district, with the port authority promising to connect the site with an underground road tunnel. Various improvements and upgrades are planned for around the port of Piraeus.
In terms of results, OLP's management said turnover in 2016 reached 103.5 million euros, up from 99.9 million euros in 2015, a modest increase of 3.6 percent in the face of a continuing economic crisis in Greece, the refugee problem and a bevy of industrial actions aimed at preventing the privatization.
Before-tax profits reached 11 million euros, up from 9.8 million in 2015, an increase of 13 percent.