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    Sea TransportOwners Matters

    Port of Thessaloniki: Our new expectations

    The recent concession of Thessaloniki Port by 67% to Deutsche Invest Equity Partners GmbH, Terminal Link SAS and Belterra Investments Ltd was pleasant news for the Greek shipping community.

    We hope that evolution will gradually cover all port’s current activities, but also, potential ones. Cosmatos Group, being a top user of all port services for over 40 years, could suggest shortly the following expectations:
    1. The container terminal could attract more shipping lines that currently do not call Greek ports or, if they do, their activities concern Piraeus only. With constant mergers in the container industry at a global level, this is now seen as a necessity. A port’s customers are the shipping companies and it’s up to them to place a port in the world map.
    2. Volume increase and quality management. ThPA could set the goal of 300,000 teus handled per annum, a performance already achieved in 2007. Important to remain steadily above this landmark as the minimum acceptable.
    3. In addition to quantitative characteristics, quality factors are also substantial: ThPA should pursue more reefer containers, equipment that requires satisfactory electricity and monitoring infrastructure; project cargoes which demand expertise, high value commodities, e.g. medicines, versus cargo of low commercial value and minor sea freight rate levels.
    4. Clearly the port’s infrastructure is the key point. Today’s draft is about 11.50 meters, so deepening operations are imperative.
    5. Increase of gantry cranes is necessary: only 4 in total and already aged, won’t contribute as a turning point.
    6. Renewal of cargo handling machinery and introducing logistics services within the Free Zone.
    7. Improvement of port’s pricing policy. ThPA is presently more than 40% higher on container handling cost compared to its direct competitors of Burgas, Varna, Durres and Bar.
    8. Being a prime tourist destination, the infrastructure and hospitality of cruise ships and their passengers may well transform Thessaloniki from just an eight-hour stop to at least one or more stays overnight: the passenger terminal is located in the city center, the distance to the airport is close, while the city is safe in terms of crime and terrorism.
    9. Attract yachts with adequate marina infrastructure, as there is vivid interest in religious tourism.
    We are confident that the new administration of the port is well aware of the contemporary demands, needless to say that we will be next to them during this challenge.
     
    George Gozis
     
    Stavros Paraschos
     
     
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