The city of Piraeus, the third largest city in Greece, is a sister city of Shanghai. Speaking of the friendly exchanges and cooperation between Piraeus and Shanghai, Yannis Moralis, the Mayor of Piraeus of Greece, speaks highly of the investment made by the China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO), a Chinese state owned shipping and logistics services supplier company.
In his words, “it is a big investment for Piraeus”
In 2016, COSCO bought a 67% equity share of the Piraeus Port Authority for 368.5 million euros ($420.2 million) to become the primary operator.
Over the years, the container traffic of the port has increased from 880,000 TEUs in 2010 to nearly 5 million TEUs in 2018. The global ranking of the port has also jumped from 93rd to 32nd, becoming one of the fastest-growing container ports in the world.
As the flagship project of Greece participating in the Chinese “Belt & Road” Initiative, the Piraeus Port project has attracted global attention.
On November 4, when Chinese President, Xi Jinping, met with the Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis (who is currently participating in the CIIE in Shanghai), Xi stressed that China and Greece should deepen cooperation by utilising the exemplary role of the Piraeus Port project.
“COSCO wants to build Piraeus to be the largest port in Europe. COSCO is doing well to this end. It is a global company and knows how to operate a port,” said Moralis in an interview during the interval of the 2019 CIIE Sister Cities Cooperation Forum held in Shanghai on November 5.
It is the second time that Moralis has come to China. On the second day he arrived, he visited the COSCO office and talked about investments. He introduced that Piraeus is deepening cooperation with the Shanghai municipal government in tourism, culture and sports.
“Every year, 200,000 Chinese tourists visit Piraeus Port, and our goal is to increase this number to 500,000”
He specifically mentioned that in 2017, the Shanghai National Orchestra held a special concert in Piraeus to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Greece.
“We are negotiating with the Shanghai government to let the Piraeus Opera Troupe come to Shanghai to perform. ”
In the view of Moralis, participating in the Expo is a good opportunity for the city’s enterprises to “see new technologies and new products.”
For himself, this is the first time he has participated in the Expo and he was deeply impressed by the opening ceremony held on the 5th.
“I met with the Chinese government leaders. This is a big moment for me.” He used “amazing” to describe everything he saw about the fair.