The measures Greece and other countries have taken to contain the spread of COVID-19 have not yet impacted trade in Piraeus, officials involved with business in Greece’s main port told Xinhua.
Greece’s measures include the shutdown of a number of retail businesses, many of which import commodities from abroad, and the ban on cruise liners or day cruise boats from approaching Greek ports. However, there has been no restriction to the import or export of cargo.
“Piraeus port has not yet seen any effects from the measures, or the virus itself,” Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) spokesman Nektarios Demenopoulos told Xinhua on Wednesday.
“In fact we have already seen a strong start to the year, with cargo handled rising by 10 percent in the first couple of months compared to the same period last year,” he added, referring to the data from the first container terminal of the port which PPA, a COSCO Shipping subsidiary.
“Since there are no restrictions on imports and exports, we do not see a decline in activity to come, although the future of the epidemic remains completely uncertain,” the PPA official said.
Likewise, Patrick Hawkins, the Piraeus-based Head of the Greek Office at Hill Dickinson Shipping Legal Services, told Xinhua on Wednesday that “so far we have not seen a slump in our business.”
However, Hawkins added that “clearly a slump is about to come. This is not due to any shifts recorded to date, but it is just common sense.”
The main impact on Piraeus is likely to come from cruise tourism, estimated Demenopoulos. “The ban on cruise ships until April 15 is likely to affect Piraeus, especially if it is extended further,” he said.