Adani look towards Greek ports for global expansion

The Indian multinational conglomerate, Adani Group is now eyeing Greece for its global port expansions, a Greek news portal, ‘the English-language Greek City Times’ along with other local media reported after Prime Minister Narendra Mondi’s brief visit to the nation.

Adani will look into taking over a Greek port and turning it into a key gateway for Indian exports to Europe, the Greek media reported citing the possibilities of Adani taking an interest in at least one port – or more.

The two ports mentioned by the portal were Kavala in northern Greece and Volos, which lies 330km from Athens. Further, it suggested Adani’s interest in a third port, Alexandroupoli.

It is to be noted that Modi traveled to Greece last Friday after his four-day visit to South Africa for the BRICS summit. The visit to Greece was the first by an Indian prime minister in 40 years. The last Indian prime minister to visit Greece was Indira Gandhi in the early 1980s.

During his visit, the Indian Prime Minister emphasized during his Greek visit that he considers Greece to be an essential economic, transport, and strategic gateway of India to the EU and talked about “great opportunities” on both sides.

As per The English-language Greek City Times, during talks between Modi and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis the Indian leader “expressed the country’s interest in acquiring ports in Greece”

There also has been talk in local Greek media that India may also be exploring the possibility of using Greece’s Port of Piraeus near Athens for its European exports. But the rub there is that the facility is Chinese-controlled. China’s COSCO Shipping is the majority-owner of the Piraeus Port with a 67-per-cent shareholding.
China’s transformation of Piraeus into the largest port in the region has been a strategic move with far-reaching implications. During his visit in 2019, Xi Jinping lauded Piraeus as a pivotal element in China’s rapid land-sea connection with Europe and the enhanced connectivity bridging Asia and Europe.

Kavala, situated in northern Greece, serves as the central port in the eastern Macedonia region, catering to parts of the Balkans. While also functioning as a departure point for ferries to nearby islands, Kavala’s potential to serve as a European gateway for Indian shipments might require substantial expansion. If India does choose to invest in one or more ports, it’s projected that Greece could solidify its position as India’s central transit hub to Europe, as highlighted by the Greek City Times.

Both leaders explored avenues to elevate tourism from India, alongside discussions about an “interstate agreement” that would enable the recruitment of skilled and unskilled personnel from India to alleviate Greece’s labor shortages. As a member of the European Union (EU), Greece’s labor agreements would naturally need to align with the broader organizational rules governing personnel in the country.

Modi noted India’s burgeoning middle class and the increasing number of affluent individuals, including billionaires, during these negotiations. The commitment to elevate their relationship to a “Strategic Partnership” and to double two-way trade by 2030 reflects the shared determination of both nations. Presently, bilateral trade stands at $2 billion.

Accompanied by a substantial business delegation including notable figures such as Sanjiv Puri of ITC, Srinivas Bommidala from GMR Group, and Samit Mehta of Emcure Pharmaceuticals, Modi’s visit was marked by keen interest in potential investments. Various sectors, including high technology, tourism infrastructure like hotels and marinas, heavy industry, and transportation, captured the attention of Indian businessmen.

A pivotal meeting between the businessmen and the Hellenic-Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry took place, sparking anticipation of a potential visit to India by the Greek prime minister in the upcoming year.

Over the past decade, India’s diplomatic ties with Greece have grown significantly, fueled by expanding interests extending from the Indian Ocean to the Eastern Mediterranean. The emerging commercial corridor linking India and Greece has the potential to transform trade patterns across the Indian Ocean region, the Middle East, and Europe. Professor Michael Tanchum of Spain’s University of Navarra aptly notes that this development could lead to a strategic and geopolitical reconfiguration, reshaping India’s role within the Eurasian economic landscape.