Maritime minister downplays possibility of provincial ports’ privatization

The relevant maritime minister on Monday evening attempted to allay fears – mostly on the part of unions representing port workers and a bevy of local municipalities – that large provincial ports around the country are set for privatization.

Minister Thodoris Dritsas made the statement in the central Greece port city of Volos, where he was greeted by a group of protesters at a “Maritime Week” event.

He said such “fears” and related protests were not “realistic”.

Dritsas was a very vocal and visible opponent of any privatization of the port of Piraeus, which lies in his election district, when he was a municipal councilor and then an opposition leftist SYRIZA party deputy. Nevertheless, as maritime minister he was one of several Cabinet members that signed-off on a tender this year to sell a majority stake of the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) to Chinese shipping giant Cosco, along with the port’s management.
Piraeus is the biggest and busiest port in Greece and one of the most important in the eastern Mediterranean.

The protest took place outside the offices of the Volos Port Authority, with the state-run news agency saying protesters belonged to the left-wing out-of-Parliament Popular Unity (LAE) party.

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