The first of two sizable floating docks Cosco has ordered for the ship repair zone of Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) is all ready for transportation to Greece’s biggest port.
Depending on the availability of a ship able to transport the 80,000-ton post-panamax dock, it is expected to arrive in late spring or early summer, according to sources from the Chinese group.
However, the installation will only be able to take place after the licensing process has been completed, something that the Greek state is responsible for, the same sources explained. After that first delivery, a 300,000-ton capesize floating dock is expected to follow, and Cosco is likely keeping its fingers crossed that no unexpected delays crop up so they can have the installations up and running as soon as possible.
The Shipping and Economy ministries are seeking the fastest possible installation of this equipment in Piraeus that Cosco has committed itself to acquiring and operating in the Greek port. The obvious goal is the strengthening of economic activity in the sector and employment in Piraeus. Sources from the new OLP administration told Kathimerini that it has already repaired the two smaller stone docks Piraeus has and is preparing to repair two small floating docks.
Nevertheless sources from the port industry warn that there may be problems with the location of the new installations. Local authorities and other community groups in areas in or adjacent to the ship repair zone have raised objections and are preparing to fight the arrival of the docks, citing environmental or archaeological reasons.
A key challenge for OLP is just how much additional business the new ship repair infrastructure will be able to bring in. Dozens of Greek companies in the sector have leased space in the OLP ship repair zone, so they – along with most other Piraeus-based companies and their Greek workers – are clearly expecting to secure some business from the ships that will soon start docking in the new installations. Crucially, the authorities will need to ensure consistency in the promised delivery times: “Given the admittedly high quality of know-how Greece still has, it still needs to prove that it can stick to a timetable,” an OLP administration source said.