By A. Tsimplakis
Greece's new shipping and island policy ministry leadership is now expecting the timely re-submission of a 612-million-euro master plan by the Cosco-managed Piraeus Port Authority (PPA), which will again come up for review by members of a ministry-affiliated ports planning and design committee.
The re-submission of the closely watched master plan comes after the same committee, comprised of members picked by the previous SYRIZA government, expressed opposition or requested "more clarifications" over PPA's investments, namely, those beyond what a 40-year concession agreement with the Greek state stipulates.
New Minister Yannis Plakiotakis has already met with PPA's management, including its CEO, Capt. Fu Chengqiu, with the former saying that the new Mitsotakis government wants the extra investments, as cited in the master plan, to proceed immediately, "within the framework, in all instances, of legality, both national and Community law."
As such, the government is pointing to the significance of creating an independent management entity by the privatization fund, HRADF, to oversee the approval of strategic environmental impact studies for such major investments.
According to sources that spoke to "N", PPA is expected to include previous observations in its re-submitted master plan, which essentially means that the prospect of operating a ship-repair zone - mainly for "super yachts" - and acquiring a ship-building license appear remote, at least in the current phase.
Cosco, the Shanghai-based multinational port operator and maritime shipper that owns a controlling stake and manages PPA, wants to open up to four high-end hotels within the port authority's premises and a luxury shopping mall. It has also expressed an intent to build a logistics hub on the western side of the port authority and enter the ship-building and ship-repair sector, something that has generated local opposition.