GREECE: At a pioneering ceremony that was held for the expansion of Pier 111, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samara have greeted each other for the expansion of Piraeus port in Greece.
At a ground-breaking ceremony on Thursday for the expansion of Pier III, Samaras thanked China’s trust in and commitment to Piraeus and Greece as a whole and wished for more Chinese investment in his country.
The Chinese premier sent a congratulatory message on the occasion.
“China highly values its relations with Greece and hopes that through joint efforts with Greece, the Piraeus port will be turned into a first-class port in the Mediterranean Sea and a vital hub of the region, and on that basis, the building of the China-Europe Land-Sea Express Line will be accelerated. By so doing, we will move China-Greece practical cooperation steadily forward and deliver even greater benefits to our two countries and peoples,” read the message.
“China and Greece are enjoying all-round and rapid development of bilateral relations. Our political mutual trust is growing, and our practical cooperation is yielding new results. Our cooperation on the Piraeus port, in particular, has set a fine example.”
Samaras said the investment showed the prospect and potential of privatization and the significance of the presence of foreign investors. Piraeus port has been run by a subsidiary of Chinese shipping conglomerate COSCO since 2009 in the wake of a financial crisis. Commercial traffic through the port has increased eight-fold since COSCO’s takeover, attracting international giants such as ZTE and Hewlett-Packard to use the cargo terminals as logistics centers for their products.
According to a recent study by the Greek National Bank, the concession of Pier II to COSCO and the steps taken after that will lead to the boost of GDP by 2.5 percent by 2018 and the creation of about 125,000 new jobs in the area.