The vision of the Minister of Mercantile Marine for the Port in Timbaki
From the Minister’s Emmanuel Kefaloyiannis reply to Parliament in a answer to a question by Mrs Schinaraki MP.
The port at Timbaki is a truly huge investment which will not come from the Public Investment Programme or EU funding alone. It is a self-financing project, and therefore requires investors. We are in discussion with potential investors in various countries. There has already been much positive interest. One of the two largest companies in China, China Shipping, has expressed an interest in writing in making the port in question, should the project go forward, a transhipment centre for one million containers. One million containers is the number shipped from the largest port in the country – one of the largest in the Mediterranean – the Port of Piraeus.
This is a very large project indeed. Timbaki port also has other relative advantages. It has an airport. It can, therefore, become a certified transshipment station for agricultural produce, in cooperation with local authorities and the Ministry of Agricultural Development, with products being exported via the airport not only to Europe but worldwide. There are huge markets in Africa. It may become a free trade zone.
If this whole network is set up, increments will be created in the area, in which people will live for generations. Timbaki will be given the opportunity to become a large town over the next few years, in the next decade, on a par with the town of Rethymnon. This, of course, will be with the cooperation of local government and local bodies. Nothing will be done without the agreement of local bodies. There is even talk in the area of a local referendum, which we have accepted. There will be full information, as long as we have specific, tangible material to go forward with the call to tender or international agreements, when the time is ripe. Specific major “players”, if you will permit the expression, of international commerce have shown an interest in the region, which they did not discover by chance. The whole world has not heard of the Timbaki and the Messara. Its discovery is due to the Prime Minister’s trip to China and our own efforts in large regions of the world, which are leaders in world commerce.
We want all the “major players” to come to Greece. We want our country’s ports to be centres for the transport of products from all over the world to Southeast Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, North Africa, the Black Sea. This is our policy target and I think that we are well on the way to meeting it.
Three potential investors for Timbaki port
“We may well see the Koreans building the port, the Chinese shipping over a million containers through it and Dubai managing the enterprise”, says the Greek government.
Once the foreign project reports for the port in the south of Crete have been completed, the Minister of Mercantile Marine plans to visit Timbaki and update the local inhabitants and public bodies on one of the largest investments ever made in Greece, estimated at 1 billion euros! The government intends to build the port at Timbaki as long as it has the approval of the local community and once the most attractive solution for the public purse has been investigated.
The preliminary report drawn up by Emporiki Bank is already in the hands of the Ministry of Mercantile Marine, but staff are waiting for the Korean preliminary report to show what can be done in the area in question.
In any case, the government seems to be making a political investment in this huge business investment. Cooperation with all three major “players” in the transshipment arena may be the preferable option at this stage in order to avoid unforeseen hazards.