Who is Cosco’s rival for the Greek port of Piraeus?

COSCOPIRAEUS (2)As Financial Times reports Syriza’s opposition to privatizations seems to have evaporated after the eurogroup decision of 20 February 2015. The government has committed not to reverse sales that have been completed, while ‘respecting the legal process’ in the case of tenders already launched. Developments in the port of Piraeus are subsequently of increased significance. In that regard, APM Terminals is COSCO’s Danish competitor, regarding a 67% stake of the Piraeus Port Authority.

But who is APM Terminals to begin with? With a Global Terminal Network of 20,600 professionals and over 160 port and inland services operations in 58 countries around the globe, the company designs, builds and operates ports and inland services. The company’s headquarters are in The Hague, and APM Terminals is an independent business unit within the Danish-based Maersk Group, with more than a century of shipping industry experience.

On the other hand, COSCO is one of the major multinational enterprises in the world, China’s largest and the world’s leading Group specializing in global shipping, modern logistics and ship building and repairing. Even though it was established only in 1961, it owns and controls over 800 modern merchant vessels with a total tonnage of 56 million DWTs and an annual carrying capacity of 400 million tons.COSCO has formed a global structure with Beijing as the center, 9 regional companies in Hong Kong, America, Europe, Singapore, Japan, Australia, Korea, West Asia and Africa as the radiation points. It owns more than 1,000 companies and branches in over 50 countries and regions and hires 130,000 employees in total, of which, 400 are personnel permanently stationed overseas and 4,000 are foreign employees.

Both companies want a piece of the Piraeus port, but it should not go unnoticed that lately, Greece’s ties with China are becoming even tighter. Ever since the new Greek government came to power, Greek and Chinese politicians and executives are meeting and stressing the importance of this relationship overcoming the initial misunderstanding of the beginning of February 2015. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras did recently publicly focus on China’s role in transforming the Piraeus port in an important gateway for Europe.  This also was the argumentation of Finance Minister Varoufakis when he visited COSCO in Piraeus.

Idyli Tsakiri-Karatzaferi