Research Seminar

Sold to China: Container Traffic in the Port of Piraeus — Pamina Koenig

10 Jan 2023


Pamina König (Paris School of Economics)


This paper analyzes the effects of the acquisition of the Port of Piraeus by the Chinese shipping operator COSCO in July 2016 on the organization of container traffic in Europe. Using the positions of container ships in time from vessel tracking systems between 2015 and 2019, we study the impact of the privatization of the Greek port on the traffic of Piraeus and competing ports by ships of different operators, and specifically COSCO. We use a difference-in-differences approach. The number of calls by container ships to Piraeus increased following its privatization, but this increase in attractiveness corresponds essentially to ships operated by COSCO whose capacity exceeds 3,000 twenty-foot equivalent units, and in particular the largest of them. We do not identify any crowding out effect between operators in Piraeus: the use of Piraeus by the vessels of other operators remains relatively unchanged. The privatization of Piraeus seems to have imposed the Greek port as COSCO’s transhipment hub for the European market without this being to the detriment of ports in any other particular European area except maybe big load centers of the North Sea.


Claude Duvallet (University Le Havre) – Pamina König (Paris School of Economics) – Yoann Pigné (University Le Havre) – Sandra Poncet (University Paris 1) – Mathieu Sanch Maritan (University St Etienne)


Lecture Hall (A-032)