The Cosco-managed Piraeus Port Authority (PPA), is set to re-file its master plan, following contacts between PPA’s management and Greece’s new shipping minister this week. The news is in the wake of a new pro-reform and pro-market Mitsotakis government. Beneath the silver lining, the wisdom of the Greek privatization scheme does not bode well for many.
The move rekindles a €612 million euro investment project by the Chinese multination at the PPA – on top of investments it must implement as part of a 40-year concession agreement activated in August 2016. There is muted opposition to these Cosco moves, however.
Dockworkers at Piraeus say Cosco is pushing for cheap labor to replace them. This story at The Nation reveals who is really winning out in the Greece privatization moves. Here is the long and short of what the longshoremen of the port have revealed:
“As Piraeus Port Authority boasts of widening profit margins and increasing maritime traffic, wages for dockworkers haven’t budged since they were slashed from 1500 euros ($1,750) per month to 600 euros after the financial crisis. Beyond that, COSCO now hires few dockworkers as full-time employees, and tends to enlist unskilled laborers for complex container unloading.”
Meanwhilöte the new Shipping Minister Yannis Plakiotakis met with PPA alternate CEO Angelos Karakostas on Tuesday, a meeting that was also attended by the Greek privatization agency’s (HRADF) representative on PPA’s board of directors, Athanasios Liagos.
According to reports, the new ministry leadership, in principle, expressed support for the master plan, as submitted before the election, while promising to accelerate procedures for the approval of environmental impact studies related to each specific project entailed.
Previously approved projects included the construction of a new logistics center affiliated with the port, at the Nea Liosia industrial district; a five-story parking pavilion, and construction of a new cruise ship passenger terminal.
However, members of the previous ministry-affiliated committee had rejected Cosco’s plan to build and operate a new high-end shopping mall within the PPA’s premises; renovating the old “pagoda” terminal in the port into a new five-star hotel; building a convention center; renovating two large warehouses into four- and five-star hotels, respectively; operating a shipyard for “mega-yachts” and extended ship-repair services in other port zones.
Over the next decade, the Greek government is expected to sell nearly $55 billion worth of state assets to help reconcile the debt world bankers say the Greek people owe. However, there is no conclusive evidence that privatized state assets are more efficiently managed than their state-owned predecessors. What this means is, Greek authorities are putting Greece in an even more untenable economic situation by giving away profitable enterprises to repay a debt owed to the same people buying assets.
Partially sourced from naftemporiki.gr.