Cosco and its Piraeus Container Terminal management will work with the Athens International Airport to build sea-air business by speeding up cargo connections between the Greek seaport and the airport.
An agreement signed this week as part of broader commercial agreements between China and Greece gives the airport a strong partner in China transport operator Cosco, which took over operations at Greece’s largest container port last year.
That change in management of the state-owned port triggered strong protests in Greece but also came with Cosco’s agreement to spend $707 million to upgrade the facilities.
The new sea-air pact is aimed at pushing more cargo through the site by expanding a sea-air initiative the airport concedes has had only “modest success” since it was launched in 2007. Cosco’s involvement, Greek officials say, changes the equation for both long-haul and short-haul cargo flows.
“The arrival upon the transport infrastructure of this powerful Chinese operator and new facility will open the door to steady flows of inbound sea/air traffic,” said Alexis Sioris, head of development at the airport.
“Much of this cargo is destined for the USA, for which we have excellent frequent widebody capacity. We are also expanding our traffic flows into the Balkan countries, whose airports are too small to accept cargo flights.”