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Society

New Democracy Pushes COSCO’s Piraeus Mall, Cruise Ship Terminal

August 21, 2019

ATHENS – Moving to accelerate plans for a proposed 612-million euro ($679.14 million) master plan by the Chinese company COSCO that operates the port of Piraeus, Development Investments Minister Adonis Georgiadis met re-elected Mayor Yannis Moralis.

Their talks centered around a new cruise ship terminal and adjacent upscale shopping mall that had been stymied by the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA which wanted to protect small local businesses from competition at the cost of keeping out bigger cruise liners.

Moralis again referred to worries by the local merchants about the shopping mall, said the business newspaper Naftemporiki, although having more and bigger cruise ships being able to dock would flood the port with more visitors and bring more traffic.

COSCO said the shopping mall is aimed at being similar to the duty-free areas in international airports although it wasn’t part of the 40-year concession agreement commenced in 2016when SYRIZA was ruling.

The Shipping and Island Policy Ministry is expecting the resubmission of the plan, with Piraeus the first link in the so-called Athens Riviera that leads along the seaside past the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center to the site of the abandoned Hellenikon International Airport where SYRIZA blocked an $8 billion development.

The master plan will go before a committee that under SYRIZA rule kept requesting more information and re-clarifications in an apparent bid to prevent it from going ahead, the party’s hard core riddled with anti-foreign investor interests.

New Shipping Minister Yannis Plakiotakis from the new New Democracy government  has already met with Piraeus Port Authority (PPA’s) management, including CEO, Capt. Fu Chengqiu, and said the new government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis wants to speed the project.

The paper said the government is looking to create an independent management entity by the privatization fund, HRADF, to oversee the approval of strategic environmental impact studies for major investments.

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 the luxury shopping mall and shown interest in building a logistics hub and ship-building and ship-repair sector.

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