China Complains over Picketing at Piraeus Port



Cosco vessel at Piraeus, February 2018 (archive)

Picketing of a Chinese-run cargo terminal at Piraeus this week, has sparked diplomatic tensions between Athens and Beijing.

Greek media reports on Friday claimed China’s embassy in Athens complained to the government about an incident that took place on Thursday. Apparently, staff and management at the Cosco shipping facility in Piraeus, were denied access by striking workers.

Two entrances to the terminal were blocked and labor activists also picketed a management building, it was claimed, something which disrupted operations.

The Greek authorities have been urged by China to protect its investments in the port sector.

Cosco — which won a majority stake in the Piraeus Port Authority in 2016 — currently runs operations at Piraeus.

It also recently docked the world’s largest container ship at the Greek facility, and is reportedly interested in the Hellenic Shipyards Skaramagas site, which has been largely inactive for the last four years.

There is an ongoing labor dispute at the Piraeus site, with port workers seeking a pay rise.