The study focuses on growth opportunities in 5 major ‘production sectors’ which are already of prime importance to the Greek economy and on 8 ‘rising stars’, i. e. new sectors where present activity is still small but where significant potential can be expected. In this post, I will focus on the ‘rising star’ of regional cargo hubs (page 67 in the executive summary).
Rising Star – Regional cargo hubs
The are three major container trade routes globally (Transpacific, Transatlantic and Europe-Asia). Greece is geographically well-positioned on the Europe-Asia route. There are two types of trade: transshipment is where there is an intermediate stop before the final destination and gateway is where goods are directed to local and other hinterland markets. Piraeus and Thessaloniki are well-positioned for gateway trade; Piraeus is well-positioned for transshipment trade.
Greece today faces stiff competition for neighboring ports like Varna (Bulgaria), Ambarli (Turkey) and Constanza (Rumania). These offer better infrastracture, higher operational stability (i. e. fewer non-operating days to strikes) and improved services with up to 50% lower time spent in unloading and customs clearance.
Even a layman can understand that there is a problem when names of ports like Varna, Ambarli and Constanza (which only insiders know) clearly outperform a port like Piraeus (which every European knows and associates with shipping). GTYA recommends:
* reducing administrative requirements
* optimizing loading/unloading as well as custom processes
* reviewing and enforcing legislation to ensure smooth and continous operation of ports
* improving infrastructure to develop better connectivity with the main ports
A few days ago, I wrote about the operational success of the Chinese Cosco which operates half of the Piraeus port since two years ago.