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India Explores Expansion of European Exports through Utilization of Piraeus Port
By Sea and Coast | 19/08/2023
India Explores Use of Greece's Piraeus Port for European Exports in Boost to Naval Capacity
Reports indicate that India is considering utilizing Greece's Port of Piraeus for its European exports. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit Greece later this month, with discussions about utilizing the Piraeus port as a focal point of the agenda.
Previously, India had planned to use Iran's Chabahar Port as an export gateway to Europe through the Arabian-Mediterranean (Arab-Med) corridor. However, the ongoing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, along the intended trade route, has hindered corridor development.
The creation of the I2U2 group in 2021, which includes India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States, has enhanced India's partnership with Mediterranean states. The I2U2's objectives include promoting joint investments in six sectors among member states, including energy, food security, health, space, transportation, and water.
Through the I2U2 alliance, India envisions gaining access to European markets using the Piraeus transshipment complex, facilitated by UAE Ports or Israel's Adani-owned Haifa Port.
India has deepened ties with Greece over the last decade, expanding its interests from the Indian Ocean to the Eastern Mediterranean. The control of sea routes linking Europe and India is crucial to India's economic security. Bilateral trade between the EU and India reached historic heights last year, totaling $130 billion in goods exchanged. India's commitment to operationalize the Arab-Med corridor to Europe is attributed to the growth of this trade segment.
Prof. Michael Tanchum, in a research paper for the National University of Singapore, highlighted that the evolving multi-modal commercial corridor between India and Greece could reshape trade patterns in the Indian Ocean region, the Middle East, and Europe. This connectivity arc spans from India's Arabian Sea Coast to Greece's eastern Mediterranean coast, signifying a strategic shift with significant geopolitical implications for India's role in the Eurasian economic order.
If India's proposition for using the Piraeus port advances, it would necessitate the utilization of a facility controlled by China. COSCO Shipping, a Chinese company, holds a 67 percent stake in the ownership of the Piraeus port.