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GreeceBusinessOLP President Yu Zenggang to ANA: Port of Piraeus is a significant...

OLP President Yu Zenggang to ANA: Port of Piraeus is a significant international hub in all areas of activities

Hellenic News of America
Hellenic News of America
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The President of Piraeus Port (OLP)Yu Zenggang spoke of the economic and strategic position of Piraeus port that has turned into a significant international hub in all the sectors in an interview to Athens- Macedonian News Agency.

Tourism is a significant asset for Greece. How many cruise ships are expected to approach in 2022 the Port of Piraeus and when is the construction infrastructure and the expansion of the new cruise pier at the southern part expected to be ready?

In 2022 750 cruise ships are expected, 66% of which will be homeported at the Port of Piraeus, while arrivals of new companies are also scheduled for 2022. The expansion of the Cruise Terminal is part of PPA’s mandatory investment plan and of great significance for the Port of Piraeus, but also for the Greek tourism and the Greek economy overall. It aims at turning the Port of Piraeus into a Homeport destination on the map of international cruises, where large cruise ships can launch and end their journey and not just use it as an intermediate stoppage. Being a home port is a significant income generator for the local and national economy, since ships spend more time in the country and increase the consumption of services and products by all involved actors including the cruise company, the vessel, the crew, the passengers, etc.

Despite the obvious benefits, as we have already announced, the construction operations of the Cruise Terminal Expansion have temporarily stopped, following the Greek Supreme Court decision about Greece Port Planning and Development Committee’s former Port of Piraeus’ Master Plan approvals, impacting the expansion works. From our part, we respect the decisions of the relevant competent authorities and are closely cooperating with the Greek authorities for the best possible outcomes. We are committed to implement our large-scale investment plan in the country, including any possible modifications deemed necessary, in full alignment with the Concession Agreement with the Greek State.

We are optimistic that the growth prospects of PPA’s mutually beneficial and environmentally conscious cruise expansion plan will prevail and the works will start again soon in order to unlock the high return potential for the local and national economy.
Has the Port of Piraeus formed partnerships /synergies with other ports as a transshipment hub?

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As a logistics and major transshipment hub, Port-to-port collaboration and supply chain integration is essential for efficiency increase and leveraging growth synergies and opportunities. Therefore, the Port of Piraeus has established several maritime connections especially with other ports in the Mediterranean, the Adriatic Sea and the Black Sea and is steadily looking for ways to leverage horizontal collaborations.

There is a new plan for the container terminal expansion. Due to the increase of the number of containers every year, is there interest by the management of the Port for the planning of the fourth pier?

A remarkable growth over the course of the last decade was achieved based on a clear strategy plan and ambitious but achievable goals. Within only a few years the once periphery port was transformed into a significant international hub in all areas of activities, while uplifting the country’s role in the global sea transportation, tourism, and trade. Today, the Port of Piraeus is a top ranked harbor in the Mediterranean and also one of the five top ports in Europe. Also, globally from the 93rd position in 2010, the port is amongst the top 30 ports in the world, with a significant contribution to the local economy and industry.

PPA has strongly contributed to the economic recovery and social development of Greece in line with the interests of the Greek state and the Greek people.  In addition, since 2016 when COSCO SHIPPING began to control and operate the Port of Piraeus the company has offered local communities more than 3,000 direct jobs and over 10,000 jobs in related services, contributing 1.4 billion euros in investments, taxes, duties and social contribution. PPA intents not only to maintain the achieved outcomes, but also generate further growth by leveraging the full container hub potential of the Port.

After 10 years of continuous growth, emerging the port of Piraeus from the 93rd to 26th place in the whole world, the current annual capacity of the Container Terminal is 7,2 mil. TEU. In 2019, more than 5.65 TEUs (containers) were handled.

According to our Investment Plan we have completed the upgrade of Pier I and we have proceeded the purchase of new equipment with which will further increase the total capacity of the port.

Additionally, we are always interested to optimize the container terminal operation and we carefully study the optimum way how to reach maximum utilization rate. For that reason, we renewed the equipment with new post-panamax cranes and in general we improve the management of the container terminal so it becomes more and more efficient.

Our target remains the port of Piraeus to full potential in playing a leading role in the global freight trade and ensure the Port’s sustainability in the long term.

When can the Port of Piraeus be potentially ready to provide electromobility and electric charging to the ships of cruise, coastal and the trading port? Which plan has PPA currently in place to meet the EU targets by 2030?

The Port of Piraeus is embracing new and cleaner energy sources and has become an energy producer itself through the installation of a photovoltaic park within the port, already in 2016, generating today 430 KWp of green energy through sun panels.

Electromobility and electric charging implementations are also planned for the near future, both for the operation of machines at the different business areas but also for third party use. We are embracing Europe’s ambition to be the world’s first net zero emission area by 2050 and take a strategic role in making the European Green Deal happen. We are committed to minimize the impact of our business operations on the environment, while we support vessels in their efforts towards decarbonization. More specifically, the Piraeus Port Authority has set up a Decarbonization Roadmap until 2030 which involves diverse actions and initiatives towards emission reduction, investments in clean energy infrastructure and increased digitalization deployment, along with safeguarding and constantly monitoring the marine ecosystem and ensuring that all projects and Port operations are in full alignment with environmental regulations and standards. Many distinctions, certifications and awards signalize our progress towards this direction such as the ”ECO PORT” PERS status from the leading European organization. In addition, the Port is actively contributing in a series of European environmental projects and initiatives supporting the company’s vision of a Green Piraeus Port.  The Port is also included in the Athens Stock Exchange ESG index and is one of the “ Most Sustainable Companies in Greece 2022”.

Recently PPA has achieved a dripple certification for best practice implementation in quality, environmental management and energy management at the Port of Piraeus.  What does this mean for the Port efforts towards emissions reduction?

In fact, recently, at a special ceremony held during the international shipping exhibition Posidonia the Port was awarded three ISO certifications for Quality, Environmental and Energy Management for our excellence and commitment in managing environmental issues, promoting energy efficiency and combating climate change.  Such certifications are of great value and a reward to our constant efforts as we journey towards our vision of a Green Piraeus Port. Facilitating the greening of the Piraeus Port is central to our strategy and a pre-requisite for a sustainable future.

What is your most important takeaway from the Posidonia shipping exhibition?
Also this year PPA, as largest Greek port and leading port in Med area, participated at Posidonia as we wanted to honor this flagship international exhibition, serving as the meeting point for the world shipping community. At the same time Posidonia is an excellent platform for exchange and showcasing PPA’s strong achievements for the Port of Piraeus as a one stop international hub for all port services, delivering proven excellence in all.
My most important takeaway from the exhibition and the talks I had the chance to have with both industry representatives and high ranking visitors is that Greece remains the most energetic center of the global maritime industry and a growth generator. The awareness about the crucial issues of today, such as energy transition, sustainable development and environmental sustainability is especially high with various relevant initiatives underway. This made me optimistic that we are well positioned to collectively address the industry challenges ahead of us and act as a role model for the international maritime industry.


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