Cosco’s Greek unit adds multinational rail-freight client

The Greek unit of China-based Cosco Pacific Ltd. said it has expanded cargo-train shipping to include a fourth multinational company, bolstering Piraeus port’s goal of becoming a main trade gateway into Europe. Piraeus Container Terminal SA at mid-year added a non-Chinese Asian electronics manufacturer to its list of clients that use rail-freight services from Greece’s biggest port to move goods to central Europe, said Tassos Vamvakidis, PCT’s commercial manager. The goods of the four multinational companies using PCT’s rail-freight services go to Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, he said.

PCT is counting on demand for sea and rail transport near the crossroads of three continents to expand operations at Piraeus, which is the first major European container port for ships entering the Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal. The port of Athens since antiquity, Piraeus has grown since Cosco’s entry into the market in 2009 to become the 10th-biggest container port in the European Union, according to EU statistics agency Eurostat.

Earlier this month, PCT also began receiving return cargo by rail from central Europe for distribution in Greece by truck or for onward transport to destinations abroad by ship, “a service we’re trying to expand,” he said.

In that context, Piraeus also has the chance to become a distribution center for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Vamvakidis said.

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