China’s largest seafaring freight company, the state-owned China COSCO Shipping, has increased its stake in Greece’s largest port to 67%, increasing its hold on an important connection in the country’s Belt and Road initiative, reports Nikkei. The deal sees COSCO take an additional 16% stake in the Mediterranean Sea port of Piraeus, a container ship hub for Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
COSCO says China’s involvement in Piraeus has helped it develop, citing increased container traffic through the port. But the Chinese presence remains contentious among locals accusing COSCO of failing to meet its obligations. COSCO acquired a 51% stake in operator Piraeus Port Authority in 2016 for about 280 million euros ($326 million at current rates). It has provided no further details about this additional investment.
With the second phase of its share acquisition, the shipper will further expand its investment, increase its input of resources and launch new shipping routes to build the port into a regional logistics distribution center, Chairman Xu Lirong said, according to an announcement Monday.