Greece moves forward with regional port privatizations
Greece has handed over operations for the port of Igoumenitsa in northwestern Greece − one of the country’s gateways to Europe – to a multinational consortium, and drawn strong interest from investors in the central Greek port of Volos as part of its privatization plan for the country’s regional ports.
Despite their geostrategic significance, Greece’s half dozen larger regional ports have faced chronic underinvestment that have hamstrung their potential. With private investment, the ports are expected to unlock development prospects in their respective regions of the country, as well as boost Greece’s role as a logistics hub for Southeast Europe. The previous privatizations of the country’s two largest ports – Piraeus and Thessaloniki – are seen as having been highly successful: lifting government revenues, creating jobs, and dramatically improving freight handling operations.
The €84 million Igoumenitsa concession was awarded to a joint venture comprising Italy’s Grimaldi Group, Greece’s Minoan Lines and Greek-Spanish developer Investment Construction Commercial and Industrial. Combined the joint venture will hold a 67% stake in the port.
Meanwhile, the initial tender for the port of Volos, has attracted eight investors interested in acquiring a majority stake and which have been approved for the second, binding phase of the tender. The port of Volos, located at the edge of the Thessalian plain, provides an outlet for Greek farm products from the region. The port is also seen as a potential cruise ship destination catering to the medieval Meteora monastic complex, two hours west of the city, as well as the nearby Pelion peninsula.