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Piraeus Port urges Greece to speed up investment plan approval
Piraeus Port Authority (PPA), operator of Greece’s largest port, wants the Greek government to speed up the approval of an investment plan that aims to attract more business to one of Europe’s largest harbours, executives said. PPA, majority owned by China’sCOSCO Shipping, is awaiting the green light from Greece’s shipping ministry to proceed with mandatory investments based on its concession agreement with the Greek state.
Greek Ferry Crews Striked on Wednesday
ATHENS, April 18 (Reuters) – Greek ferries remained docked at the country’s ports on Wednesday as seamen, marine engineers and ship cooks walked off the job to protest against planned government reforms which they say will further hurt their labor rights. The 24-hour strike was organized by Greece’s seamen federation (PNO), which said the leftist-led government was preparing a reform allowing non-European flagged transport ships to sail in Greece, leading to job losses for Greek crews. The reform is coming on top of pension cuts, rising unregistered labor and work without any insurance, PNO said. PNO said later on Wednesday that the strike would be extended until Friday morning. “No more blows against our sector,” it said in a statement. Passenger traffic was slow at Piraeus port on Wednesday morning. Traffic has been picking up as the summer, the top tourism season for the Mediterranean country, approaches. Marine unions have strongly resisted reforms liberalizing the shipping sector, which along with tourism is a pivotal industry for Greece, a country of proud seafarers and shipowners.
Kouroublis hails Sino-Greek cooperation in new upgrade projects in Piraeus port
Greek Shipping Minister Panayiotis Kouroublis praised on Thursday the Sino-Greek cooperation at Piraeus port, speaking to Xinhua on the occasion of the launch of new projects to upgrade Greece's largest harbor. Work has started to upgrade the harbor ahead of the arrival of the new floating dock "Piraeus III", at the end of February, in a project that the managing company, China Cosco Shipping, launched last June, Greek national news agency ANA-MPA reported. Since China Cosco Shipping acquired a majority stake in Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) and took over the management in 2016 after winning an international tender, the image of the harbor has been changing rapidly. The new works include dredging the harbor to create up to 20 meters of operating depth, providing new electricity and water supply networks, and installing four mooring buoys for anchoring ships. The new floating repair dock – 240 m long, 45 m wide, 22,000 tons lifting capacity and full crane equipment – will be able to service ships with a capacity of 80,000 tons. "The projects that have started at Perama and will proceed with the lifting of two wrecks off Pier II by the Shipping Ministry, so that the infrastructure for the installation of PPA's large floating dock can be created, show how smoothly the cooperation of the Greek government with the investors is progressing," Kouroublis commented. "They also show that the Shipping Ministry's policy will continue to facilitate any development activity stemming from Cosco's contractual obligations regarding bureaucracy and other obstacles," the Greek official told Xinhua."At the same time, we support workers' rights by welcoming the latest agreement between employees and the OLP for the signing of a Collective Labor Agreement," the minister said. Shipping officials have said that ships will no longer need to carry out repair and maintenance operations in other Mediterranean shipyards, while this move is also expected to create new jobs in the Greek market. The latest projects at Piraeus have received a warm welcome by representatives of the market. Speaking to Xinhua, George Koumpenas, vice president of operations at Celestyal Cruises, welcomed the works as a very positive development, in particular for companies managing passenger ships operating in the region as well as for the Greek shipbuilding industry. "In recent years, due to a lack of suitable dock sizes, companies have been obliged to dock our vessels to neighboring countries such as Malta, Turkey and Croatia. This has resulted in the loss of significant revenues for the national economy," he explained."The installation and operation of a large floating dock will help maintain and develop the shipbuilding industry in the wider Piraeus and Perama areas, as an important criterion for the choice of the port for seafaring companies is the ability to make repairs," Koumpenas stressed. Source: XinhuaNews schreiben