On October 25, Ning Jizhe, Vice Chairman of National Development and Reform Commission spoke at Piraeus Port Phase II Transferred Equities Delivery Ceremony. Adonis Georgiadis, Greek Minister of Development and Investment, Ioannis Plakiotakis, Minister of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy, Georgios Iliopoulos, Greek Ambassador to China, Zhao Chongjiu, Vice Minister of Transport, Wu Hongbo, Special Representative of the Chinese Government on European Affairs, Peng Huagang, Secretary General of State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, Xiao Junzheng, Chinese Ambassador to Greece, and Xu Lirong, COSCO Chairman were also present.
Vice Chairman Ning Jizhe said, the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013 accords highly with Greece’s strategy of developing the country into a key international logistics gateway. Piraeus, one of the most important ports in Greece, is a template for translating the development visions of both countries into realities. Since COSCO bought into the port in 2016, Piraeus has evolved into the largest port in the Mediterranean region with cumulative investment of more than 1 billion Euros, a rapid increase in cargo handling capacity.
Vice Chairman Ning Jizhe emphasized in the speech, China-Europe Land-Sea Express Route, taking Piraeus as a hub, starts from China’s coastal port cluster to Piraeus through the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea and traverses Europe’s core regions via the railway connecting Greece with Northern Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary. Linking Greece with China and the rest of Europe, the route facilitates the flow of myriad resources, cargos and commodities and plays a positive role in the country’s endeavor to build itself into an international logistics hub.
The Greek side speaks highly of the critical role of COSCO in bolstering the development of Piraeus Port and hopes to work closely with the Chinese side so as to reap more benefits from the cooperation. Adonis Georgiadis, Greece’s Minister of Development and Investments indicated, since the Greek Government entrusted concessional rights to COSCO in 2008,the cooperation on the development of Piraeus Port between both sides have brought tangible benefits to the Greek People and stepped up Greece’s economic growth and the bilateral relation between China and Greece. Ioannis Plakiotakis, Minister of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy spoke highly of the important role of COSCO’s investments to Piraeus Port in promoting the urban development, economic progress and creation of job opportunities of the country. Georgios Iliopoulos ,Greek Ambassador to China praised the successful delivery of the Phase II transferred equities, a new milestone for closer maritime ties and the deepening of cooperation between both countries, and said it would point directions for future bilateral investment and demonstrate the broad and profound prospect of the cooperation.
Piraeus Port, the flagship project of the joint development of the Belt and Road initiative, has developed into a fine example of China-Greece cooperation. Located in the southwest of Athens, it is a key transportation hub in the Mediterranean region with a total strand line of 24 kilometers and an annual throughput capacity of 7.2 million TEU. Once the delivery is completed, COSCOholding 67% of the equities, will play a larger part in shaping Piraeus into a transportation powerhouse, promoting the quality development of the port, facilitating the joint development of Belt and Road and strengthening the Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries.