Opening a gateway to Europe is a ‘once-in-a-thousand-year opportunity’ for China.
In October 2009, government-owned China Ocean Shipping Company (cosco) took over one of two piers in the Port of Piraeus from its Greek authorities. Since then, cosco worked to increase the annual container volume nearly 10-fold. Finally, after waiting seven years, Beijing’s One Belt, One Road (obor) initiative took a step further when cosco purchased full control of the Port of Piraeus on April 8.
Obor is Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ambitious strategic initiative to build a modern-day version of the ancient “Silk Road”—a network of trade routes that connected cultures running from Southeast Asia to the Mediterranean. Xi revealed its two major components in 2013: the land-based Silk Road Economic Belt and the sea-based 21st-century Maritime Silk Road.
The Chinese ambassador to Greece, Zou Xiaoli, hailed the port deal as a “once-in-a-thousand-year opportunity” for China and Greece to jump-start trade and development. cosco settled on a $416 million deal for control of the port and also promised to invest a future $395 million.
“This privatization makes Greece a gateway for Asian products to enter Europe, strengthens the economy, and boosts the country’s strategic importance in the region,” said Stergios Pitsiorlas, chairman of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund.
Since late 2013, China has been working on high-speed railways to connect Greece to other Eastern European countries. Ten days after the Piraeus Port deal, Serbia launched a project to modernize its train line to Greece through Chinese manufacturer crrc Zhuzhou.
One of the many trends the Trumpet follows is that of the growing economic relationship between Europe and China, and we expect their trade alliance to strengthen further. You can find out the details of that trade relationship in a column by the late Ron Fraser “The Great Mart.” ▪
Full article: China Establishes Its Silk Road in Greece by Purchasing the Port of Piraeus (The Trumpet)