The Greek government has had to postpone the sale of a majority stake in Piraeus, its largest port.
The privatisation of the port was a requirement of the third bailout agreed with the country’s creditors. However, the recent national elections slowed down work at the ministries of shipping and finance. Now Greek officials have deferred the signing of the concession agreement for several weeks.
“The recent elections held up work and the ministries have had to push back by about 20 days the signing of the concession agreement”, a government official told IHS Maritime. “The shipping ministry needs time to prepare the draft agreement in order to present it to investors.”
Conflicts between local authorities over the terms of the concession agreement have also slowed the process. In addition, port unions have threatened to block the sale with protests and strikes and have taken legal action to try to prevent the privatisation.
China’s Cosco Group, Dutch container terminal operator APM Terminals, and Philippines-based International Container Terminal Services are the main bidders. They have a deadline of 30 October to submit binding bids for a 51% stake in the port authority.
Cosco has managed two cargo terminals at Piraeus since 2009. Piraeus Port Authority now operates one state-owned terminal at the port.