China Cosco Holding Co. will invest US$552 million in the Greek port of Piraeus in the next five years.
The investment will be mainly in the cruise and shipbuilding industry to help develop Piraeus’s facilities and services, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing company president Xu Lirong.
Xu made the announcement at a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Shanghai.
The company plans to turn Piraeus into the “biggest transit port in the Mediterranean”.
Tsipras is on a five-day official visit to Beijing and Shanghai to lure Chinese investment.
It comes after the final approval by Greece’s parliament for the sale of a majority stake in the port of Piraeus, the country’s biggest, to Cosco.
“Greece, which is the first stop in China’s way to Europe, can become a bridge between China and the West, between Asia and Europe,” Tsipras said.
The deal transferring a 67 percent stake in the port to Cosco has been years in the making and was approved by a large majority in Greece’s parliament last week.
Piraeus, a few miles south of the Greek capital, is the de facto home of the country’s giant shipping industry and is one of the largest ports in the Mediterranean.
Cosco uses Piraeus as a transshipment hub for Asian exports to Europe arriving on container vessels from China, given its proximity to the Suez Canal.
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