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Chinese state shipper to acquire key Greek port

China is eager to gain a maritime hub in Europe such as the port of Piraeus in Greece.

BEIJING -- China Ocean Shipping (Group) is on track to acquire Greece's largest container port, gaining a key foothold to expand China's economic and military presence in Europe and Africa under the "One Belt, One Road" trade route initiative.

     The state-owned shipper, also known as Cosco Group and owned by China COSCO Holdings, plans to acquire 51% of Piraeus Port Authority's outstanding shares for 300 million to 400 million euro ($325 million to $433 million). Located near Athens, the port of Piraeus ranks among the largest in Europe and serves as a key maritime hub for Chinese exports to western Europe and Africa. Beijing was eager to gain control of Piraeus, a major post along both sea and land routes, especially due to its lack of allies in the region.

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