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Greece blocks asset sales

ATHENS: The new Greek government of prime minister Alexis Tsipras has announced a moratorium on the sale of a 67 percent stake in the port of Piraeus to China.

COSCO PiraeusIn November last year the Piraeus Port Authority and Piraeus Container Terminal, part of COSCO, signed a €230 million deal to increase the port's annual container capacity to 6.2 million TEUs from the current 3.7 million.

The leftist Syriza party, prior to winning the general election on January 25th, said it would halt the privatization of state assets stipulated by the IMF and European Commission as a condition of Greece receiving a €240 billion economic bailout in 2010.

Newly-appointed minister for Shipping and the Aegean Thodoris Dritsas told Reuters this week that "the Cosco deal will be reviewed to the benefit of the Greek people".

Other assets slated for sale by the former conservative government and now on hold include Greek Railways and the state-run power company PPC. In addition the 40-year lease of 14 regional Greek airports to Fraport and a 99-year lease of the former Athens airport Hellenikon to a Greek-Chinese-Abu Dhabi consortium could also be subject to review.

Prior to the election, other proposed sales included stakes in the Greek postal service and Athens airport. The latter reported a 20 percent increase in passenger traffic and a 3.3 percent rise in cargo during 2014.

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