By A. Tsimplakis
The new Cosco-led management of the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) has reportedly requested increased support by the Greek government, and specifically from the relevant maritime ministry, in order for the Chinese multinational's massive investment plan for the port to be rapidly implemented.
OLP managing director Capt. Fu Chengqui requested the support from Minister Panagiotis Kouroumblis on Tuesday, during an unscheduled meeting between the two, and after an address by the latter at OLP's headquarters in Piraeus. Kouroumblis spoke on the new European directive for port facilities.
According to subsequent press reports, the high-ranking Chinese executive presented Cosco's ambitious investment plan to the government side, saying the Shanghai-based and state-controlled multinational wants to transform Piraeus into the "most modern port in Europe". As such, Cosco wants the state's "support".
"Support" in this case involves the ministry's mediation in overcoming obstacles dealing with the transfer of OLP employees to other state entities. OLP workers who want to remain employed in a civil service framework and not in the private sector, under which OLP operates, would be eligible for the transfer.
Cosco also wants less "red tape" in its attempt to base a floating dock (up to 80K tons) in the Piraeus shipbuilding and repair zone. The Chinese side wants to bring the rig to Piraeus in September.
Besides the Greek state's infamous bureaucracy, at least two shipwrecks are located in the specific spot where Cosco wants to anchor the floating dock, which means salvage work is necessary.
Moreover, prospect of bring a colossal floating dock of up to 330K tons is also on the agenda, although reactions have arisen over the prospect, by both local government on the adjacent shorelines and even by business rivals.
According to reports, only two locations can host such a behemoth in the sea region immediately off the port of Piraeus.