Cosco aims to transform Piraeus into a key holiday cruise port

Cosco Pacific is pushing for the inclusion of Piraeus in the plans of all major international cruise groups, and for its use as home port.

The aim of the Chinese company that won the tender for the acquisition of Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) is to swiftly develop the major potential of the Greek market and for Piraeus to emerge as one of the world’s biggest cruise ports as early as next year.

To that end, as soon as it has undertaken OLP’s management, Cosco will embark on infrastructure investments that will gradually reach up to (or even exceed) 135 million euros.

It is also beginning a consultation process with cruise groups such as Carnival, Royal Caribbean, MSC, Celestyal and others in mid-March in Florida, in the context of the industry’s main annual exhibition, Cruise Shipping Miami.

Sources told Kathimerini that Cosco officials will be noting all of the cruise groups’ remarks and demands that it is prepared to satisfy, with the aim of providing services and facilities that Piraeus has not supported to date. The consultation process is expected to be completed by July so that the foreign cruise operators will have all settled in Greece’s main port over the course of 2017.

A Cosco source said, “Piraeus will roll out a red carpet to the groups which will support the project of turning the Greek cruise market into a giant.” Market sources confirm the increased interest by foreign groups, and say the chances of them signing home porting agreements in the future are significant, although that will also depend on the state issuing the necessary licenses for local subsidiaries of the groups.

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