Photos of Greece's colossal shipping port show you why the economy is in tatters

Piraeus Greece portMilos Bicanski/Getty ImagesShipping container cranes line the Pireaus cargo port on February 11, 2015 in Pireaus, Greece.

ATHENS, Greece — The Greek referendum on whether or not to accept the country’s international bailout deal has made international headlines, and the queues outside the country’s banks have become a symbol of what’s going wrong in the country.

But there are other visual signs that Greece’s economy has deep, structural problems.

I went out to Piraeus, Greece’s biggest port, to see what things looked like. It’s not far from Athens and is the national hub for shipping, one of Greece’s biggest industries.

But once you’re there, you can see why despite all this activity, the country’s economy is in such an awful state.

As soon as I arrived, I spotted some graffiti about Cosco -- the Chinese company that's trying to acquire a majority stake in the port.

If the unpopular privatisation goes ahead, this landmark port will no longer be Greek-owned. The current government have gone back and forth on whether to resist selling it off.

There were a lot of protest ads and political demonstrations by the harbour.

A lot of Piraeus seems to be doing OK. Apart from this huge gap along the initial line of shops, businesses by the port were largely open and bustling.

It's not only the busiest port in Greece, but one of the Mediterranean's biggest, with both trade and tourism seemingly booming.

But it was a stark contrast with people just metres away queueing to access their daily cash limit.

Though there have been reports about food shortages, I've yet to see any in either Athens or Piraeus.

Greece's terrible trade deficit has improved in recent years -- but largely because imports have slumped, not because exports have seen major growth.

Car sales in Greece increased by 43.3% from April 2014 to April 2015. That's a good sign for the Greek economy -- but exports have been static since 2012.

In fact, Greece has had a trade deficit pretty much constantly for decades. Its trade with the rest of the EU is particularly unbalanced.

Harry Theoharis, the former head of tax collection, thinks Greece loses 0.5% to 1% worth of GDP in tax through the shipping industry.

There were a lot of hammer and sickle emblems on show in Piraeus. In Piraeus B, one of the legislative areas, the Greek Communist party got 8.19% in January, one of its best results nationally.

There were dozens of No (Oxi) posters ahead of Sunday's referendum -- the top one belongs to the Greek communist party, the bottom to Syriza.

By contrast, I only spotted one, slightly more official-looking 'Yes' poster.

The euro is part of the problem for Greece. The currency is perhaps too weak for places like Germany -- leading the country to become a huge exporter.

But the euro still too strong against other currencies for Greece -- so it ends up buying goods from abroad, including German cars.

This sign was hoisted directly outside the entrance to customs in Piraeus.

Greek companies own more than a fifth of the world's tankers, but a great deal of that money never reaches the country's domestic economy.

Attica, the region that includes both Athens and Piraeus, has the highest unemployment of any Greek region.

There were major industrial sites around, but the Greek industrial sector in general has shrunk by about 30% since the crisis began.

There was also a Communist poster showing Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras dragging in Russian President Vladimir Putin on a Trojan horse.

Now see:

The word 'Yes' in Greek is seen on a sticker as pro-Euro demonstrators attend a rally in front of the parliament building, in Athens, Greece, June 30, 2015.

Greece's pro-euro supporters just held a colossal rally in Athens -- here's what people said on the ground

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