GREECE plans to delay the sale of its largest port, Piraeus, until a few weeks after the September 20 snap national election, which has held up work at ministries, say state officials.
Setting a date to submit binding bids for Piraeus port is one of the actions that Athens needs to complete to conclude its first bailout review and qualify for more funds from its EUR86 billion (US$98.8 billion) bailout, Reuters reports.
Cosco Pacific, the Cosco Group's port operator; Maersk's standalone port operator, APM Terminals, and Manila's International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI) have until October 30 to bid for 51 per cent of the port.
"We will fall behind by about 20 days because the concession agreement that the shipping and finance ministries have to sign," a government official close to the matter told Reuters.
Also, the shipping ministry must review the draft agreement before it is presented to investors, another official said, adding that the re-elected minister had received the relevant material only "very recently".
Cosco currently manages two cargo piers at the Piraeus Port under a 2009 concession agreement. Athens operates one pier at the port, which is currently 74 per cent state owned.
Under the deal, would-be buyers will also have the option to acquire an additional 16 per cent stake in OLP over five years after completing mandatory investments.
Divisions among local authorities over the terms of the concession agreement could also hold up the process. Port workers, who fear job cuts, have threatened to block the sale with protests and strikes and have taken legal action against the project.
Dockers staged repeated strikes against the possible sale of the country's two largest ports in 2008-2009.
Source : HKSG.