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Gateway to Europe: Adani group’s prospective role in Greek port operations

Gateway to Europe: Adani group's prospective oole in Greek port operations
Gateway to Europe: Adani group's prospective oole in Greek port operations
  1. The Adani Group seems to be considering the idea of taking control of a port in Greece and transforming it into a significant entry point for Indian goods heading to Europe.

Following Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s short visit last week, reports from a Greek news outlet called the Greek City Times, along with other local media, have indicated that one of the topics discussed during official talks was the potential involvement of the Adani Group in operating at least one Greek port, and possibly more.

Two ports, namely Kavala in northern Greece and Volos, located 330km away from Athens, were mentioned as potential options. The Greek news portal also hinted that a third port, Alexandroupoli, might pique Adani’s interest.

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Modi’s trip to Greece followed his attendance at the BRICS summit in South Africa and marked the first visit by an Indian prime minister to Greece in four decades. During his visit, Modi stressed the importance of Greece as a vital economic, transportation, and strategic link between India and the European Union, emphasizing the “great opportunities” on both sides.

The Greek City Times, citing anonymous sources, reported that during talks between Modi and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Indian leader expressed India’s interest in acquiring ports in Greece.

Additionally, there have been discussions in local Greek media about India exploring the possibility of utilizing the Port of Piraeus near Athens for its exports to Europe. However, this option presents a challenge since the port is currently under Chinese control. China’s COSCO Shipping owns a majority stake of 67% in the Piraeus Port, which China has developed into the largest port in the region.

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Kavala, situated in northern Greece, serves as a key port for the eastern Macedonia region and facilitates connections to parts of the Balkans. While it also serves as a departure point for ferries to nearby islands, substantial expansion would likely be necessary for it to function as a gateway for Indian shipments into Europe. Should India choose to acquire one or more ports, the Greek City Times noted that Greece would officially become a central transit hub to Europe for India.

During their discussions, Modi and Mitsotakis explored ways to increase tourism from India and explored the possibility of establishing an “interstate agreement” to address Greece’s labor shortages by bringing in skilled and unskilled workers from India. Given Greece’s membership in the European Union, any agreements related to labor and personnel would need to align with the EU’s regulations on foreign workers.

Modi highlighted India’s growing middle class and the increasing number of wealthy individuals, as he and Mitsotakis agreed to elevate their countries’ relationship to a “Strategic Partnership” and work toward doubling two-way trade by 2030, which currently stands at $2 billion.

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During Modi’s visit, a delegation of prominent Indian business figures accompanied him, including Sanjiv Puri, the chairman and managing director of ITC, Srinivas Bommidala, the group director of GMR Group, Samit Mehta, the MD and CEO of Emcure Pharmaceuticals, and other notable leaders from Indian industries. These business leaders explored investment opportunities in various sectors such as high technology, tourism, heavy industry, and transportation during meetings with the Hellenic-Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Over the past decade, India has been strengthening its relationship with Greece, extending its interests from the Indian Ocean to the Eastern Mediterranean. This growing connection could significantly alter trade patterns between the Indian Ocean region, the Middle East, and Europe, potentially reshaping India’s role in the Eurasian economic landscape, according to Professor Michael Tanchum, an international relations expert at Spain’s University of Navarra.

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