By Jonathan Stearns Feb 25, 2014 2:01 AM GMT+0200
port of Piraeus
could become one of Europe’s top five
container-shipping hubs as the government spurs logistics activities in a bid
to kick-start economic growth, said Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis.
Piraeus could become one of the four to five biggest ports
in Europe very soon,” Hatzidakis said in a Feb. 20 interview in . Brussels
To help stimulate demand for sea and rail transport near the crossroads of three continents, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s ruling coalition is also preparing to sell a 67 percent stake in Piraeus Port Authority SA (PPA) and all of rail operator Trainose SA.
PPA runs Pier I at Piraeus -- the first major European container port for ships entering the Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal -- and will be responsible for the western side of the planned Pier III.
“The geostrategic position of
is such that we can have development in the area of logistics,” Hatzidakis
said. “What the state can do is to give incentives.” Greece
Trichas said the logistics industry including transportation contributes around 10 percent to 12 percent to Greek gross domestic product, which has shrunk by about a quarter since 2008, and can help revive economic growth. He cited the importance of making
a transit route for goods. Greece
small market, we must take advantage of the shipments that can come here not as
a final destination,” Trichas said. “We have a big opportunity with the Greece . A whole industry could develop
around port of Piraeus
looking to more container traffic.” Piraeus
A model is a March 2013 agreement by California-based HP to use Cosco Pacific’s Greek unit, Piraeus Container Terminal SA, to move goods manufactured in Asia into
Europe. This became possible after the Greek government
rushed to complete a long-delayed 17-kilometer (10.6-mile) link from the port
to the national rail network following Cosco Pacific’s arrival on the Greek
In 2011, Piraeus had year-on-year growth of 98 percent, the largest increase of any port in the top 20, according to Eurostat, which lists the top five as Rotterdam, Hamburg, Antwerp, Bremerhaven and Valencia.
Hatzidakis said taking full advantage of Piraeus’s potential to become a bigger trade gateway will require further development of the Greek railway network and greater exploitation of port and rail links in the country. He also cited the need to improve highways and regional airports.
In that context, he said legislation is in the works to encourage investment in the logistics industry.
“It will make life easier for investors in logistics,” Hatzidakis said. “It will modernize the institutional framework, mainly by simplifying the licensing framework.”
Trichas said the main priorities should be to make the whole national rail network double-track and electrified; to build a “freight village” in the area of Piraeus for companies to rent storage space and offer services; to upgrade existing road corridors with more fuel stations and parking areas; to abolish limits on storage space; and to introduce a logistics degree at Greek universities.
“We are on a good path, but we need to reinforce our efforts in this sector,” Trichas said. “We could have made much more progress earlier. It would have eased the current crisis.”
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