COSCO aims to turn the port into the biggest commercial harbour in Europe, spending about 600 million euros to boost operations, including mandatory investments of 300 million euros by 2022 which once concluded will allow it to acquire an additional 16% stake in the port.
Xi met Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, on November 11, when the two parties signed an MoU stating their mutual will to overcome any obstacles in the implementation of COSCO’s investment in Piraeus.
Both parties aim to take advantage of Greece's strategic location at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa, making the port a hub for channelling goods from the world’s second-largest economy and top exporter into Europe.
Also, the 16 government and business agreements signed between the two countries yesterday include sectors as diverse as extradition, agricultural exports, education, energy, the airline industry and additional COSCO investments in Piraeus. The agreements include the opening of a Bank of China branch in Athens, a representation office of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in Athens and an office of the China Development Bank.
When elected, the Greek Government leaded by Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, announced that the first part of the initiative will comprise measures to make the Greek flag more attractive to Greek shipowners, who control the world's largest merchant fleet. In their annual report for 2017-2018, the Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) said Greece controls 20% of the global fleet in dwt tonnage.