€120 million project to enhance cruise facilities given green light
The European Commission has approved €113.9 million in state aid towards the extension of the Greek Port of Piraeus.
The funding will be used to help realise a €120 million project proposed by the OLP, the port authority, in September last year to extend the port’s existing cruise facilities with the addition of two new deepwater berths.
The project, which falls under EU state aid rules, will be co-financed with €96.9 million from EU Structural Funds and, according to the European Commission, will further the objectives of EU transport policy and cohesion without “unduly distorting competition in the internal market”.
By enhancing cruise services in Piraeus it is not only expected to generate a number of jobs but it will also provide a much needed boost to the region’s economic activity through the passengers, crews and companies making use of the facility.
Greece carried out an in-depth cost-benefit analysis showing that the income to be generated for the Port Authority from the use of the infrastructure over the next 20 years will be insufficient to cover the investment costs. Therefore, the project would not be carried out without public funding.
Last week, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, during his speech at the inauguration ceremony of Piraeus’ new Pier III, said that the Hellenic government along with fellow port owner the Cosco Group have negotiated a new investment of €224 million regarding the further expansion of the port’s new container handling terminal. If realised, the new investment will add 500 additional jobs and enhance the port's handling capacity to nearly 7 million TEU per year. Samaras added that Cosco has already invested 340 million Euros, without exhausting the port's capacity.