After a year’s delay, the deal between Greek railway service operator Trainose and Hewlett Packard is finally about to be put into action, albeit on a pilot basis. The agreement provides for the HP to make Piraeus its distribution center for Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and other Mediterranean countries.
It was almost a year ago, on March 1, 2013, that the deal was signed, and Trainose is hoping to start the cargo service as soon as possible. Trainose Chairman and Chief Executive Thanassis Ziliaskopoulos announced the time those services would start during an event on Wednesday for the European railway research and innovation program Shift2Rail.
The merchandise will be shipped to Piraeus, where it will be loaded on Trainose train wagons, which will convey the shipment through FYROM, Serbia, Hungaria, Austria and the Czech Republic. The agreement initially provides for the transport of 20,000 HP containers annually, simultaneously boosting Trainose profits which are currently estimated at just 24 million euros from container transports. Cosco’s and HP’s selection of the port of Piraeus could increase the local volume by up to 50 percent for the port, while it will also generate a substantial number of jobs given that a large number of companies are expected to follow HP’s lead and move their headquarters to Greece or set up offices here.
The Infrastructure Ministry’s general secretary of transport, Nikos Stathopoulos, spoke on Wednesday of the keen interest that has been expressed in the privatization of Trainose and carriage maintenance firm Rosco. He said that he had held meetings with candidate investors in Trainose and Rosco in the context of the Shift2Rail event in Athens, as well as with representatives of the railway community in Europe and European Commission officials, “and I realized that the interest is serious and intense.”