Container shipments at Piraeus nearly doubled in 2011 from the previous year as surging volume at a Cosco Pacific-controlled terminal helped Greece’s largest port recoup some of the Mediterranean transshipment traffic lost over the past decade.
Volume jumped to 1.68 million 20-foot equivalent units from 878,083 TEUs in 2010, close to the record traffic handled in 2003, Piraeus Port Authority said.
Piraeus Container Terminal SA, the Greek unit of Hong Kong-based Cosco Pacific, handled 1.18 million TEUs, an increase of 73 percent on the previous year. Cosco paid around $5 billion for a 35-year operating concession in late 2008 in the face of fierce opposition and strikes by Greek dockers.
PPA’s Pier 1 terminal, which opened in June 2010, handled 500,133 TEUs, up 54.5 percent from the previous year. Transshipment traffic surged 88 percent to 254,336 TEUs from 135,418 TEUs in 2010.
“The Port of Piraeus, despite the global economic crisis is regaining its old pace,” PPA Managing Director Yiorgos Anomeritis said. “These numbers restore the significance of the Piraeus container terminals in the Mediterranean and on an international level.
The port authority said it expects traffic at both terminals to increase through 2012. Cosco Pacific plans to boost Piraeus’s annual capacity to 3.7 million TEUs and transform the port into a leading Mediterranean transshipment hub and a gateway for Chinese exports to Europe.
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