This past December, Grimaldi Group acquired a majority stake in the port of Heraklion. Reportedly, the Con/ro and ferry operator bought a 67% stake in the Heraklion Port Authority for around $80 million.
Grimaldi now owns the majority stake in the busiest port of Cretee. Tendered by the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund in the latest in a series of port privatisation deals, the Heraklion stake is the second such investment by Grimaldi in the Greece port sector. The conglomerate also recently acquired a majority stake in the Igoumenitsa Port Authority.
At the signing, Greek Minister of Finance Kostis Hatzidakis, the Minister of Shipping Christos Stylianides, the Minister of Rural Development and Food Lefteris Avgenakis and HRADF CEO Dimitris Politis were present with Grimaldi executives to sign over control of the port authority.
The Greek state retains a 33% share in the port through HRADF. Emanuele Grimaldi, head of the family business and chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping, made a note to mention that his company is a primary customer of the port via its subsidiary Minoan Lines. Grimaldi also said developing Heraklion’s passenger, cruise and freight businesses, creating jobs, and transforming the harbor into a “true green port” are key goals.
The Grimaldi story is an interesting one. The business began in 1947 with the help of founder Guido Grimaldi’s uncle, Achille Lauro. He helped Guido and his brothers Luigi, Mario, Aldo and Ugo purchase one of the World War II Liberty ships, which was put into service in to satisfy the demand for transiting post-war immigration between the Mediterranean and the US.
Guido Grimaldi’s single-ship operation grew rapidly in the 1960s when the group began bolstering its freight operations with bulk freighters and tankers. The company’s commitment to so-called ro-ro transport put the company at the forefront of the transport of vehicles, especially between Italy and the UK. The Grimaldi Group’s car carrier services rapidly won business from major vehicle manufacturers needing to ship their vehicles between Northern Europe and the Mediterranean..
Today, the Naples-based company continues its vertical integration strategy in Greece, and elsewhere. The company also announced the deployment of its third “G5”-class multipurpose ro-ro vessel, the Great Tema, which GRimaldi says ‘’stands out for her loading capacity and eco-sustainability.” The new ship will be deployed between Northern Europe and West Africa.