The Greek government has agreed deadlines for the privatisation of its two major ports, Piraeus and Thessaloniki, following its cash for reforms pay out.

Greece’s HRADF privatisation fund has announced that binding offers for the tenders involving the privatisation of Piraeus port authority need to be submitted by October, while offers for the northern port of Thessaloniki are due by February 2016.

Greece launched its €50 billion privatisation programme in 2010 after signing the first bailout with international creditors, but it chose to veto the sell-off of the two ports.

But under prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, the Greek government was forced into a U-turn as part of a package of reforms that were a key condition of the latest bailout loan offered by its European Union creditors.

China's COSCO Group, which operates operating two of the port's cargo piers, is among the main contenders in the sale of a majority stake in Piraeus Port Authority.

But it faces rival bids from terminal operator APM Terminals, which announced in July that it was interested in both ports.