By F. Zois
Two of the most prominent multinationals that have pushed through landmark privatizations in recession-battered Greece, Chinese shipping giant Cosco and Italian rail operator Ferrovie dello Stato (FS), are reportedly close to an agreement to jointly build and operate a new logistics hub in an industrial zone west of Athens proper.
The development comes even after a first such concession was awarded last year to a consortium comprised of ETBA and Goldair to build a logistics center in the Thriasio district, which borders on the country's most industrialized zones (Perama, Aspropyrgos, Elefsina, Megara etc).
The first indication of a looming deal was revealed on Friday in a special "N" edition and in an article by Trainose executive Mary Nasopoulou. FS, Italy's state-controlled holding company, purchased Trainose, Greece's previously state-run rail operator, last year for 45 million euros.
"The company (Trainose), with the development of a complex in Thriasio, and with the exploitation of two large warehouses, is implementing a plan to create a modern logistics hub, in order to offer higher quality services to customers," Nasopoulou said.
According to reports, talks between Cosco and Trainose are in an advanced stage.
The Shanghai-based multinational, itself a state-controlled company, is reportedly close to an overall deal with FS for rail transport and logistics, not only in Greece, but throughout the Balkans.
Cosco purchased a majority stake of the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) in an international tender, as the highest bidder, while assuming the port's management in August 2016. That privatization, along with a concession transferring 14 regional airports around Greece to a German-Greek consortium (Fraport) for up to 40 years, is the biggest foreign investment in the country during the economic crisis that began in 2009-2010.