ATHENS – A key part of Greece’s attempt to lure more foreign business and cruise ships ran into an obstacle when Greece’s highest administrative court said a major investment plan for the port of Piraeus must be put on hold.
The Council of State for now has stopped the development that was part of a 2016 2016 concession agreement between Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) and China Ocean Shipping Company, COSCO, which has the ruling stake there.
In their ruling, the judges said that previous approvals of the so-called master plan for Piraeus didn’t take into account an environmental impact report as required by the European Commission and national regulations, a decision that is a temporary setback for COSCO’s plans.
The company that has upgraded the port to be one of the biggest and most important in the European Union wanted to expand a passenger port and build a new one to accommodate bigger ships and cruise vessels Greece was trying to attract.
The plan, which was opposed fiercely by some local businesses who don’t want any competition in an area that has patches of unkempt buildings and turned seedy, also included a bigger import terminal for vehicles, more storage space, hotels, a parking facility and further developments.
Under the 2016 privatization deal, Cosco bought a 51 percent stake in OLP for 280 million euros ($307.87 million) and further investments of some 294 million euros ($323.26 million) over five years to acquire another 16 percent share.