According to the Greek Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport there is a €25 billion infrastructure need in Greece. “Much of the investment will be sought from the private sector, with the support of the EIB and the EBRD through viable Public-Private Partnerships,” says Christos Spirtzis, Greek Minister for Infrastructure and Transport.
An agreement was signed with Bulgaria and involves one of the major infrastructure projects aiming to connect the rail network to the three ports of northern Greece; Thessaloniki, Kavala and Alexandroupolis to the ports of Burgas, Varna and some Danube ports. The Port of Thessaloniki was privatized at the end of 2017 through an agreement between the Greek agency for privatizations HRADF and Deutsche Invest, the French Terminal Link subsidiary of CMA-CGM and the Cypriot Belterra Investments, granting them a 67% stake in the port. The consortium paid €231.9 million to take over the port and invested at least €180 million in infrastructure improvement for the next seven years. “Thessaloniki is a strategic port for Europe and not only for Greece, because its location and history make it the center of the Balkans”, explains Spirtzis.
On the occasion of his state visit to Athens in September 2017, French President Emmanuel Macron mentioned the Port of Piraeus’ takeover by Chinese COSCO and said: “We pushed Greece to choose non-European investors because the Europeans were no longer there”.
“The continuation and delivery of the Olympia Odos and Aegean Motorway road links despite the financial crisis reflect the importance of the Greek market for VINCI Concessions. It also confirms our commitment to playing a role in the country’s growth through sustained investment, with our know-how, our experience and our capacity to finance”, said Panayotis Papanikolas, Executive Director for Greece of VINCI Concessions.
“Even though recession has plagued the country for many years, the concession system has proven to be a resilient and sustainable model for building infrastructure and generating national wealth. We took up the challenge with a positive approach and with creative solutions. For example, on the iconic Rion-Antirion Bridge, which we have been operating since 2004, we have implemented a new commercial policy with new electronic toll products and new consumption options. Today, traffic is increasing and 70% of the heavy trucks are using our bridge, which represents a return to pre-crisis levels”, adds Papanikolas.
J&P Avax, one of the largest construction companies in Greece, which is involved in all the major construction projects, has participated for 25 years in the development and construction of Eleftherios Venizelos Airport in Athens. According to Konstantinos Mitzalis, CEO of the company: “Greece is coming out of the crisis, and investors can hope to make a profit”. But for the Mitzalis, the future of Greek companies is also abroad: “One of our current projects is the development of a power plant in Iraq”.