Chinese Firms Now Hold Stakes In Over A Dozen European Ports | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


Chinese Firms Now Hold Stakes In Over A Dozen European Ports

For decades, whenever stevedore Giorgos Nouchoutidis arrived for work at the port of Piraeus, he would breathe in the fresh, briny sea breeze and feel a surge of pride.

This port has long been a metaphor for Greece. It's where ancient warriors in triremes set off for battle and where refugees in fishing boats arrived in the early 20th century, fleeing the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. It's also where Hollywood docked to film the 1960 movie Never on Sunday. The film's Oscar-winning theme song is a love anthem to the port.

"It's a blessed location," says Nouchoutidis, 67, reminiscing in his living room, under a watercolor painting of a ship. "It's across from the Suez Canal. It's deep enough for big ships. And it's my home. My father worked here," he says. "We didn't have machines back then. We used to load everything onto the boats with our own hands — bags of clothes, leather goods and knitwear made in Greece, all bound for North America and Australia."

But by the time Nouchoutidis retired, in 2010, the port was about to take on a new identity: China's main gateway to Europe. That's the year the state-owned China Ocean Shipping Co., known as COSCO, started buying stakes in the port of Piraeus. Six years later, the company controlled the port.

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