PIRAEUS – Although hopes for expansion were stymied by a Greek court over an environmental impact statement, China’s management company COSCO said it had brought in 154.2 million euros ($170.29 million) in a record 2021 turnover.
That was a 16 percent increase from the previous year when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, and as the health crisis has just entered a third year but not drastically affecting operations at the port.
The numbers were revealed by a company statement, said China’s state-run cable network CGTN, also citing the state news agency Xinhua which produces stories about Greece as ties between the countries tightened.
Profit before tax amounted to 49.2 million euros ($54.36 million), up 33.3 percent year-on-year; profit after tax reached 36.8 million euros ($40.66 million), up 39.4 percent; and the proposed dividend per share was 0.63 euros ($0.70), up 57.5 percent, according to the Chinese-controlled company.
Compared to 2020, Pier I of the Piraeus container terminal handled 13.9 percent more 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) and the car terminal 40.6 percent more vehicles in 2021.
The cruise terminal facilitated 379 cruise vessels and the ship repair docks served 16.5 percent more vessels, the news reports said although the Greek court order will likely for some time slow renovation and greater capacity.
“The continuous increase in the company’s turnover despite the difficulties we have all faced in the past due to the pandemic reveals a highly resilient company built on solid foundations,” said Yu Zenggang, Piraeuis Port Authority Chairman.
COSCO shipping in 2016 acquired a major stake in the operation of the port that had been a money-bleeder, but surrounding businesses are resisting efforts for improvements, fearing competition from new companies.
Piraeus is important enough to China that President Xi Jinping visited the site in 2019 as China was pushing its new Silk Road plan, called the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to use Piraeus as a gateway to the European Union.