China-based ports investor Cosco Pacific said its Piraeus container terminal, acquired in the face of fierce opposition including a strike by Greek dockworkers, contributed "significant growth" in first half revenue.
The Piraeus facility generated revenue of $46.6 million in the first half of 2010, helping to boost overall terminal revenue more than 131 percent to $103.3 million from $44.7 million in the first six months of 2009.
But Cosco lost $10.6 million in Piraeus due mainly to higher initial operating costs, which resulted in its overall net profit from terminals shrinking 11.4 percent to $39.6 million from $44.7 million a year ago.
Piraeus handled 376,727 20-foot equivalent units in the six months to June 30, driving a 39.7 percent increase in Cosco's non-Chinese container traffic to 2.68 million TEUs from 1.9 million TEUs in the year-earlier period.
Overseas traffic at terminals in Piraeus, Antwerp and the Suez Canal accounted for 11.9 percent of Cosco's total 22.43 million TEUs throughput in the first half of 2010, which was an 18.7 percent increase on the 18.89 million TEUs handled in the first six months of 2009.
Cosco, the world's fifth largest terminal operator, began a 35 year concession to operate and develop two of Piraeus' three container terminals in October under an agreement with the Greek government in late 2008.
Piraeus dockworkers staged rolling strikes and overtime bans for over a year, initially to block the privatization of container handling and later to secure improved job guarantees from Cosco.
Cosco, which is reportedly paying the Piraeus Port Authority over $5 billion during the lifetime of the concession, has pledged to invest $300 million to upgrade facilities.
It plans to boost Piraeus's annual capacity to 3.7 million TEUs and transform it into a leading Mediterranean transshipment hub and a gateway for Chinese imports into Europe.
Hong Kong-based Cosco Pacific, which also manufactures and leases ocean containers, boosted first half revenue 40 percent to $222.7 million. Net profit increased 81.7 percent, including the sale of its logistics company stake, to $189.9 million.
-- Contact Bruce Barnard at email@example.com.