Cosco disagreement with contract submitted in Parliament for port of Piraeus

30 June 2016
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Chinese multinational Cosco has very publicly aired its disagreements with several points in a tabled draft bill containing the contract that transfers a majority of the Piraeus Port Authority’s (OLP) shares and its management.

A letter by the shipping giant was sent to a relevant committee in Greece’s Parliament, as Thursday was expected to have witnessed a vote by the plenum over the contract. The bill, in fact, was submitted amid a fast-track process lasting for only a few days.

“The submitted draft bill not only is different, but is in complete opposition to the basic conditions of the specific agreement, and with the figures on which the financial offer by our company was based for the purchase of OLP,” the letter by Cosco reads.

The company also warned of “damage” that the bill’s passage can cause, and demands a restoration of the contract’s originally agreed-to provisions.

Speaking earlier at the production and trade committee of Parliament, where the draft bill was first opened for debate, the relevant Maritime Minister, Thodoris Dritsas, merely referred to changes that he had “the right to make to the contract-ratifying law.”

Dritsas, a veteran leftist activist who led the opposition to any privatization of any part of the port when his party was in the opposition, nevertheless left open the possibility of modifications to the law brought before Parliament.

On their part, officials from Greece’s privatization fund, TAIPED, which oversaw the international tender that witnessed Cosco making the winning bid, said the changes in the draft law were not substantive, “however, in order to avoid any misunderstanding, they will be clarified.”

In a heated response, main opposition New Democracy (ND) spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos vilified the leftist Greek government for “again following the slippery slope of ‘we say one thing, we agree to something else, and vote for something different’.”

“The letter reprimand by Cosco shows, in all its glory, the completely lack of credibility of this government,” he charged.

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