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China Merchants cosies up to Thessaloniki port

Chinese state-owned maritime conglomerates are exerting ever greater influence over the Greek ports scene. With Cosco controlling Piraeus, Greece’s largest port, China’s other government-backed ports giant, China Merchants Port Holdings, is making moves on Thessaloniki, the Mediterranean nation’s number two port. 

Thessaloniki Port Authority has signed a cooperation agreement with China Merchants Port Holdings to use the Chinese company’s container terminal operating system. China Merchants has also agreed to promote Thessaloniki as a gateway port for Chinese clients into Europe. 

Thessaloniki port, which was acquired by a German-led consortium in 2018, is developing its container terminal so that it can handle 24,000 teu ships.  

The managing director of China Merchants Port Holdings, Dr Bai Jingtao, commented yesterday: “The port of Thessaloniki has a long history, outstanding location and shipping advantages. It is not only the main import and export gateway in northern Greece, but also an important channel and logistics hub linking Europe and Asia. We believe that this successful cooperation is not limited to a system marching overseas in Europe, but also a promotion of the two parties in the port areas of Europe and Asia, which can be recognised as another success and practice of the initiative of Belt and Road”.

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Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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