On Thursday, Greece’s privatizations agency named an Italian-led consortium as the preferred bidder in the sale of a majority stake in the port of Igoumenitsa, situated in the northwestern part of the country.
Italy’s Grimaldi Euromed S.p.A. along with Greece’s Minoan Lines and Investment Construction Commercial and Industrial were selected for a sixty-seven percent stake of the port of Igoumenitsa, which is just across from Italy, the agency said.
The Italian group will acquire the majority of the shares of the port of Igoumenitsa, also known as OLIG (ΟΛΗΓ), for approximately eighty-four million euros after the unsealing of the financial offers from the Private Property Development Fund of the State TAIPED (ΤΑΙΠΕΔ). Τhe transaction documents will be signed following approval by the Court of Audit, the agency added.
The Greek government has sought to attract private investment in Igoumenitsa and other regional ports as part of a wider privatizations plan in order to turn Greece into a key logistics hub for goods from Asia to Europe and therefore boost economic growth.
In the last decade, Greece has raised more than seven billion euros from privatizations as part of its three international bailouts that expired in 2018.
Binding Offers for the acquisition of sixty-seven percent of the port were submitted by ATTICA A.E. and the Grimaldi Group.
In a statement made on Thursday, the Minister of Shipping and Insular Policy Yannis Plakiotakis said, “A new era begins for the port of Igoumenitsa with a strong development perspective and significant benefits for the local society and economy. The result of the tender process exceeded all expectations with the price for the concession of sixty-seven percent of the shares for forty years exceeding 84.2 million euros.”
“The government’s strategy for the utilization of regional ports is justified,” Plakiotakis emphasized.
Igoumenitsa port is a major connection of Greece to Western Europe
The port of Igoumenitsa is in a strategic location, as it’s geographically the closest port of Greece with Italy and the Balkan countries, thus acting as a major connection for passengers and goods traffic to and from Western Europe. Annually, 2.5 million passengers and about 250,000 trucks move through the port of Igoumenitsa. The main Western ports connected directly are the Italian ports of Bari, Brindisi, Ancona, Venice, Trieste, and Ravenna, as well as that of Corfu in Greece.
The port of Igoumenitsa is the second busiest passenger port of Greece after Piraeus. It is even busier than the ports of Iraklion and Patras, which are now the third and fourth largest in the country.
The construction project of the New Port officially started in the beginning of 2012, and it was completed by 2016. With the completion of the New Port, Igoumenitsa has become a large, modern port in the Mediterranean Sea, able to serve passenger, commercial, and tourist traffic.
The port of Igoumenitsa serves 61.73 percent of maritime traffic, 67.49 percent of car traffic, and 55.08 percent of truck traffic going through Greek ports annually. Thus, due to the increased traffic, hospitality businesses have flourished in and around the area of the port.
The port of Igoumenitsa makes traveling to Italy and the Balkans by ferry easy. Ferries depart the port each night of the week. The ferry trip from Igoumenitsa to Italy is usually overnight and can last from seven to twenty-four hours depending on the destination. Brindisi and Bari are the shortest trips while Venice is the longest. The entrance to the pier is connected to the highway of Egnatia Odos. The gates, as well as the passenger terminal, are located near the entrance, so they are easily accessible by car or foot.
Finally, Igoumenitsa acts as a gateway for residents of the Ionian islands to the Greek mainland, including to the city of Ioannina. Buses from the port to all major cities of Greece, including Athens and Thessaloniki, embark every day, thus making the port of Igoumenitsa one of the most well-connected harbors of Greece.