Athens willing to offload majority port stakes

Athens willing to offload majority port stakes

Athens: In a move likely to lead to more strikes, the Greek government has said it is willing to sell more stakes in its top two ports as it desperately seeks funds.

“The negotiating team wants a deal with lenders and we are willing to sell Piraeus and Thessaloniki ports, 51 percent stakes,” a government official told reporters yesterday, adding: “This has not been decided but in order to reach a deal we may do it.”

The new leftist government had previously vowed to stop selling off key national assets, but such is the paucity of the nation’s finances that the administration is having to backtrack on earlier campaign promises.

Previous port privatisation schemes, such as when Cosco Pacific took over a terminal at Piraeus, resulted in fierce strikes.

Across the eastern Mediterranean port privatisation plans have been met with militant action in recent months – Israel and Cyprus also facing worker strife as ports open up to private competition for the first time.

Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.

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