Three key mandatory investment projects in the port of Piraeus are temporarily suspended, following a relevant decision by the Council of State suspensions commission discussed on March 24, 2023 following an appeal by the mayors (Keratsiniou -Perama) and the inhabitants of the area in 2021.
This is the southern extension of the port of Piraeus, which will allow the berthing of large cruise ships (over 300 meters), giving impetus to the efforts to develop and strengthen the cruise, the dredging project in the central port of Piraeus, but also that of the expansion of the port of Heraklion.
According to the project study, the expansion of the car handling station at Herakleos Pier, in the commercial port of Keratsini, envisages the expansion of the pier by 35 acres. Its new dimensions will be platforms 1,100 m long with an operational depth of 12.50 m and a total area of 110,000 m2. In addition, the project includes the improvement and modernization of existing port and E/M facilities.
This investment should strengthen the competitiveness of Station Car du Port, since it will create 5,400 new parking spaces.
Decision 47/2023 of the Council of State, in fact, stipulates that in order to issue the AEPO (Decision on the issuance of environmental conditions) so that the specific projects can continue, it must be accompanied and must take into account the study of the port traffic which studies the traffic loads of the area, extracting specific data indicating whether or not the port weighs on the city and submitting relevant proposals.
In the decision it is emphasized that taking into account the relationship of communication and complementarity of the stages of environmental authorization of plans and projects as well as the provisions of the new regulatory plan of Attica for the functional interconnection of port activities with the fabric through integrated traffic planning, as well as for the formation of a specialist of a plan with directions for the organization of traffic for the requirements of tourism that will come from the cruise is feasible and at the same time it is necessary to prepare a comprehensive traffic study during the environmental permitting phase of projects, either when revising those already approved or when approving new ones.
Regarding the dredging in the port of the southern extension for cruising and the dredging in the main port and the port of Heracles, it is underlined that the environmental permit cannot be executed before the approval of the study circulation after consultation.
It notes that the above-mentioned projects involve interventions likely to cause reparable damage, since they are linked, like the project to create a new port for cruise ships, to the problem of management and disposal of dredges that will arise , for the solution of which another method is sought from PPA SA In particular, the deposit of dredgers in authorized land facilities, instead of their deposit in a marine area or their integration in cement boxes of another project port.
It should be noted that the Port Authority of Piraeus has already completed the traffic study which was submitted as an appendix to the Strategic Environmental Impact Study to the Environmental Licensing Division of the Ministry of the Environment. However, to approve the traffic study and the environmental impact study, these must be consulted beforehand by the ministries and organizations concerned, as well as by the regional council, in order to have the final opinion. All projects will then be re-licensed from scratch. It should be noted that a request for annulment of the mentioned appeal of the municipalities of the region (Keratsini-Perama) has been decided to be discussed before the plenary of the Court, after postponement, on September 22, 2023.
Which projects are excluded?
It should be noted that the exception to the suspension decision of the Council of Europe concerns only projects for the modernization and maintenance of the infrastructure of the port. One of them concerns the underground interconnection of the bus station with the former ODDY site, with an initial budget of 5 million euros. This is a project that the Supreme Court considers to be aimed at improving traffic conditions in the area by bypassing Democracy Avenue for vehicles that will circulate in the port.
Also excluded are the dredging and expansion projects of the waterfront of the private Perama shipyards for the restoration of operational levels as well as the construction and operation of a high medium voltage substation in the commercial port.
Source: APE – MEB