Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Growth Model for Greece - Regional Cargo Hubs

"Greece 10 years ahead" (GTYA) is the title of a study published by the Athens Office of McKinsey in mid-2011. It outlines a National Growth Model which, the study predicts, would create over 500.000 new jobs and add roughly 50 BEUR to Greece's GDP within a decade. The executive summary of the study consists of 72 pages. I have already explained in a previous post that I will make short posts about each major point of the summary for those who prefer not to read 72 pages.

The study focuses on growth opportunities in 5 major 'production sectors' which are already of prime importance to the Greek economy and on 8 'rising stars', i. e. new sectors where present activity is still small but where significant potential can be expected. In this post, I will focus on the 'rising star' of regional cargo hubs (page 67 in the executive summary).

Rising Star - Regional cargo hubs
The are three major container trade routes globally (Transpacific, Transatlantic and Europe-Asia). Greece is geographically well-positioned on the Europe-Asia route. There are two types of trade: transshipment is where there is an intermediate stop before the final destination and gateway is where goods are directed to local and other hinterland markets. Piraeus and Thessaloniki are well-positioned for gateway trade; Piraeus is well-positioned for transshipment trade.

Greece today faces stiff competition for neighboring ports like Varna (Bulgaria), Ambarli (Turkey) and Constanza (Rumania). These offer better infrastracture, higher operational stability (i. e. fewer non-operating days to strikes) and improved services with up to 50% lower time spent in unloading and customs clearance.

Even a layman can understand that there is a problem when names of ports like Varna, Ambarli and Constanza (which only insiders know) clearly outperform a port like Piraeus (which every European knows and associates with shipping). GTYA recommends:

* reducing administrative requirements
* optimizing loading/unloading as well as custom processes
* reviewing and enforcing legislation to ensure smooth and continous operation of ports
* improving infrastructure to develop better connectivity with the main ports

A few days ago, I wrote about the operational success of the Chinese Cosco which operates half of the Piraeus port since two years ago.

Previous posts in this series: P1, P2, P3, P4, P5, P6, P7, P8, P9, P10.

1 comment:

  1. Constantza cargo port is probably bigger than Piraeus, Thessaloniki etc combined - what Rotterdam is to the Rhine, so Constantza is to the Danube. I'm not sure that barge traffic recovered to the same levels after Clinton and Blair bombed the bridges in Serbia. Some EIB money has gone into Constantza. It also has a working shipyard.

    Beirut and Port Said are expanding their transshipment operations.

    McK's did not mention ship/boat building, surely building boats and coastal ships would be a 'natural' growth industry for Greece.

    Greece should do whats necessary to get the yachts back that have gone to Turkey and Croatia over the past couple of years. Increased and more onerous regulation was a factor - yes, when Greece should have been deregulating it imposed new regulations, and they did not come from Brussels. Yachts tend to sit around in the winter, but they still need servicing, defouling, refitting, rerigging, refurbishing - there's good money in that. People could work in tourism in Summer and fix yachts in Winter - idyllic existence.