- Title: GREECE: Greece will be gateway to Europe, says Cosco CEO
- Date: 22nd May 2010
- Summary: PIRAEUS, GREECE (FILE) (REUTERS) PORT OF PIRAEUS, SHIPS IN THE HARBOUR HUNDREDS OF CONTAINERS STOCKED UP IN PORT SHIP CRANE TRANSPORTING CONTAINERS VARIOUS OF CRANE MOVING CONTAINERS ONTO SHIP
- Embargoed: 6th June 2010 13:00
- Location: Greece, Greece
- Country: Greece
- Topics: Business,International Relations,Economic News,Transport
- Reuters ID: LVADWULA6Q1GZ48LIUKNZWPT6B3U
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: As debt -ridden Greece searches for investment, China's Cosco gave it a much needed boost, saying it will help bring Chinese investors and is committed long term to making it a European hub.
Jiafu Wei, President and CEO of China's Cosco Group which now manages part of Greece's largest commercial port, said on Friday (May 21) that despite recession and strikes battering the Greek economy, the group was investing for the long term and would bring more Chinese investment to the country in order to support it in its debt crisis.
"I do believe we will bring a lot of opportunity for the Greeks and for the Greek economy," said Jiafu Wei after a week long visit to Greece which included meetings with several government leaders, ministers and officials from the shipping and tourism industry.
Greece has imposed tough austerity measures on the public which now must be counterbalanced with growth and investment projects to keep the economy afloat, and Greece is scrambling to attract interested investors to boost growth in the midst of its debt crisis and recession.
Since October, Cosco Pacific now manages port facilities in Greece's largest commercial and passenger port of Piraeus, after a 3.4 billion euro deal was signed in 2008 between the two countries that will last 35 years.
Cosco operates the world's largest bulk cargo fleet, and ranks as the seventh largest container shipping firm globally and controls port operator COSCO Pacific.
Jiafu Wei said the company wants to make Piraeus an international transport hub that will act as a gateway to Europe, linking Africa, Asia, and Europe.
"We set up this port as a hub port and to link three continents, south east and middle Europe, North Africa, Asia. So we link three continents," he said.
Piraeus was recently the scene of several strikes by port workers and seamen over the government's economic measures, which caused the cancellation of ship and ferry schedules crucial to economic activity. But Jiafu Wei brushed off the labour action, calling the actions predictable under the circumstances. The company's commitment was long term he said, while the strikes were only short term.
"The term of Cosco's concession agreement is not for 35 days, nor for 35 months, but for 35 years. From the long term perspective Cosco firmly believes any problem or crisis that arises can be well tackled by the understanding mutual trust between Cosco and the Greek government and the Greek people," he said. "Every country that is progressing its development sees constant challenges like this, and this kind of complicated situation is normal."
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