China COSCO buys control of Greek railway operator

13 November 2019 - 12:00 am UTC

A subsidiary of China’s COSCO is set to buy a majority stake in a Greek railway operator, the company said in a statement yesterday.

Ocean Rail Logistics, based in the Greek port city of Piraeus, has signed an agreement to purchase 60% of Piraeus Europe Asia Rail Logistics (PEARL), according to the statement. A company spokesperson declined to disclose the deal size, but said that the acquisition will allow Ocean Rail to obtain railway operation rights in Europe. 

PEARL focuses on end-to-end rail transport and logistics services between the Port of Piraeus and other Greek ports. In 2016, the company obtained a railway operator’s license and became one of three freight railway operators in Greece. It engages in container, general and bulk cargo freight forwarding, as well as terminal and port end-to-end services.

COSCO invests in the Belt and Road Initiative, which is a signature scheme launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping aimed at improving trade and transport links across Eurasia. It bought control of the Port of Piraeus in 2016 and operates two container terminals under a 35-year concession. 

The Chinese company’s European arm – COSCO Shipping Europe – launched Ocean Railway in 2018 to develop railway logistics between the Port of the Piraeus and European destination markets as part of efforts to boost container traffic.

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