‘Back Door’ into Europe Expanded
COSCO Shipping, has increased its stake to 67 per cent in the Greek Port of Piraeus, to advance China＊s Belt and Road initiative.
In a report by Nikkei, the deal sees state-owned Cosco take an additional 16 per cent stake in the Mediterranean sea port, a container ship hub for Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
Long seen as an important stepping stone into the rest of the European Union, Cosco says China’s involvement in Piraeus has helped it develop, citing increased container traffic. Like in other parts of the world, the Chinese presence however remains contentious among locals who accuse the company of failing to meet its obligations.
Cosco acquired a 51 per cent stake in operator Piraeus Port Authority in 2016 for about EUR280 million (US$326 million at current rates). It has provided no further details about this additional investment.
With the second phase of its share acquisition, the shipping conglomerate will expand its investment, increase its input of resources and launch new shipping routes to build the port into a regional logistics distribution centre, said Cosco chairman Xu Lirong.