Cosco eyes privatization of pilot services at port of Piraeus

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Chinese multinational Cosco, who assumed the management of the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) last August, is reportedly eyeing the privatization of pilot services in the wider port area.

The report comes in light of previous Cosco statements referring to a staff shortage and the outdated flotilla of vessels used by pilots to guide ships in and out of the port of Piraeus, the biggest and busiest port in the country.

Delays at the port have, in the past, affected freighters, tankers and cruise ships heading to and leaving Piraeus.

According to information gathered by “N”, Cosco’s management has notified the relevant maritime ministry over the problems in the specific sector, as well as its intent to begin consultations leading to the creation of its own pilot service or the assumption of the current service. The issue isn’t new for Piraeus, given that past state-run OLP management had also attempted to improve pilot services, to no avail, however.

At present, pilot services are under state-control throughout the country, essentially a “closed shop”, whereas the “lion’s share” of revenues for these services is generated from the port of Piraeus. However, the same sector has essentially been rendered “immune” from European Union efforts to liberalize port services around the Union.

The concession contract signed between the Greek state and Cosco includes a provision foreseeing that delays and problems in piloting services are reason for negotiations on the issue between the two sides.

Source: Naftemporiki / By A. Tsimplakis

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