China will invest €600 million in the port of Piraeus. That is the result of a state visit to Greece by the Chinese president Xi Jinping. The Chinese transport company COSCO Shipping wants to develop the Greek port into an important hub for trade between Asia and Europe. The European Investment Bank also granted a loan of €140 million for the further development of the Greek port.
COSCO Shipping concluded a deal in 2009 to transfer more containers to Piraeus. In 2016 it took a majority stake in the port, with the aim of further developing it. With a new investments worth €600 million, the Chinese company will be able to increase its stake in the port by a further 16%.
‘Largest port in Europe’
Xi Jinping wants the port of Piraeus to play a greater role in trade between Asia and Europe. This will require a further increase in throughput capacity, according to the Chinese president. The port of Piraeus is currently the sixth largest in Europe, but COSCO Shipping wants it to take the number one position. According to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, it will require €1 billion in investments to reach that goal.
China and Greece also want to cooperate in other areas, such as energy, transport and the financial sector. One of the plans is to lay an energy cable from the Greek mainland to the island of Crete. The Chinese state-owned company Grid already has a minority stake in the Greek grid operator ADMIE and wants to participate in this project, which involves an investment of €1 billion.
Greece joined the partnership between China and the Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) earlier this year. A victory for China, because Greece could become an important link in the maritime Silk Road.