Our Port pro of the Month for April is Mr. Sotirios Theofanis, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Thessaloniki. In this interview, Mr. Theofanis discusses the privatisation of the port, the future outlook and challenges for the container business in the port, the Belt and Road Initiative and many other interesting topics!
Can you briefly present the Port of Thessaloniki? What are its main characteristics and challenges?
The Port of Thessaloniki is the main Port Hub for the Balkans and South East Europe. This is due to its location; its facilities and spectrum of services provided; the strong customer base in Northern Greece and the neighbouring countries; along with plans to extend its facilities to accommodate Ultra Large Container Vessels and big dry bulk and general cargo vessels.
The Port is also the main export port for Greece, attracting also export traffic from the neighbouring countries.
The Porthad an annual container throughput of 425,000 TEUs and an annual throughput of 3.85 million tonnes of conventional cargo (bulk and breakbulk) in 2018.
The annual container throughput for 2019 is expected to increase to around 450.000 TEUs and conventional cargo throughput should reach 4.5 million tonnes.
The Port of Thessaloniki, through its operator ThPA SA, provides a full spectrum of activities in the fields of container traffic, conventional cargo (dry bulk and breakbulk), Ro-Ro and RoPax traffic, and cruise traffic, while covered and open space leases are provided to port customers.
In 2018, the Port of Thessaloniki was privatised. As a consequence, you were appointed as new Chairman of the BoD and CEO. Can you briefly explain why the port was privatised? What are the advantages of the privatisation for the port? Has this posedany challenges?
The full interview is available on the ESPO website here