(Photo taken on May 7, 2017 shows bridge cranes unloading goods at Piraeus Port, Greece.)
ATEHNS, May 11 (Xinhua) -- In COSCO Shipping’s Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) office building, president Fu Chengqiu can overlook all the major businesses at the port, container terminal, cruise terminal, automobile terminal, ship repairing and building, ferry terminal and logistics.
COSCO Shipping acquired 67 percent shareholding in the PPA for 365.8 million euros on April 8, 2016. In August of the year, COSCO Piraeus Port took over operation of Piraeus Port.
Actually, Piraeus Container Terminal S.A. (PCT), COSCO Shipping ‘s subsidiary at Piraeus officially started to operate Pier II and Pier III of Piraeus Port since 2010 under a 35-year concession agreement signed in 2008.
Fu was managing director of PCT before taking president of PPA. His team increased the port’s container handling from 880,000 TEUs in 2010 to 3.74 million TEUs in 2016.
PCT’s performance gave the Greek side more confidence to cooperate with its Chinese partner and it’s the foundation of COSCO’s successful acquisition of the PPA.
However, it was not always smooth for PCT’s integration and development. When the company just took of the container port, several obstacles confronted the management team: equipments were not well-maintained and records were lost; container yard management was chaotic and the port was seriously congested… Moreover, shipping industry entered recession since 2009 and profitability of shipping companies was affected.
Under the supports of COSCO’s shipping management division, experienced mangers and technicians were soon transferred from China, and the port resumed normal operation after two weeks of work. PCT also made efforts to improve service quality and expand business scale.
PCT also made a thorough inspection of the port and consolidated the assets. Fu said that the port is an old company established in 1930 and there were hundreds of unsolved legal cases involving 140 million euros.
Container terminal is the core business of COSCO Shipping at the port. Successor of Fu Chengqiu to manage the container terminal business, Zhang Anming said that Piraeus Port is the first stop on the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and the first transfer port from the Far East to Europe. Under PCT’s sound management, Piraeus Port has been chosen by major global shipping alliances as a hub or transfer port.
Zhang said COSCO Group has created a new channel for trade from China to Central and Eastern Europe, which greatly reduces time and cost compared to traditional ways.
Xu Lirong, chairman of COSCO Group, noted that Piraeus Port is the gate to the Mediterranean Sea and it will effectively promote shipping prosperity between China and the Mediterranean region.
(Contributed by Liu Yongqiu, Chen Zhanjie, Yan Liang; Edited by Yang Qi, firstname.lastname@example.org)