August 2, 2016 / 11:32 AM / in 3 years

UPDATE 1-Greece gets single bid for rail freight project

(Adds transport ministry comment)

ATHENS, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Greece has received only one bid to build and run a new rail freight terminal outside Athens, a project it has been trying to get underway for years, the country’s transport ministry said on Tuesday.

The bid is from ETBA, a unit of Greece’s Piraeus Bank which develops and manages industrial parks, in collaboration with Goldair, a domestic firm offering cargo and logistics services, the ministry said.

The selected investor will build and operate the terminal at Thriasio for 60 years under a 250 million-euro ($280 million) investment plan which will create a new rail freight transport hub linking up with Greece’s largest port of Piraeus.

Greece, which had to turn to its euro zone partners and the International Monetary Fund in 2010 to be rescued from its debt crisis, is still struggling to revive its economy after seven years of recession.

The project will create some 3,000 jobs over 10 years, cut transport costs and turn the country into a gateway for imports to central Europe, the ministry said in a statement.

The deadline for binding bids for the new terminal - which was pushed back twice this year to give investors more time to prepare - expired on Monday.

The process is being managed by state-owned company GAIAOSE, real estate manager for national railways operator OSE.

“There has been one bid by ETBA and Goldair and GAIAOSE’s task now is to evaluate the bid,” said an official at GAIAOSE who declined to be named.

Once the investor has qualified, GAIAOSE will unseal technical and financial details of the proposal. The official said it would aim to have the details of the financial offer by the end of the month.

Sources close to the process said on Monday that ETBA was interested in the project but another potential suitor, China’s COSCO along with Greek real estate firms Grivalia and NBG Pangaea, a unit of National Bank, would not submit an offer. (1 US dollar = 0.8927 euro) (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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