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FROM OUR CORRESPONDENTEUROPE


The Chinese investment effort that seeks to deepen infrastructure links across Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America – the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – is a step closer to expanding its geographical reach and influence in Europe, following a meeting between Chinese and Italian officials. As China’s influence spreads, the agreement could have ramifications for the rest of Europe.


Europe’s divided our regional correspondent in


understanding (MoU) with Rome, signalling Italy’s participation in the state-led investment effort. In total, Chinese investors reportedly


C


signed 29 separate deals amounting to USD2.8 billion worth of projects. Among the agreements – covering energy, finance, agricultural produce, and the potential for Italian oil, gas and engineering firms to enter into the Chinese market – a number of deals concerned port infrastructure projects. Notably, developments have been earmarked at the ports of Trieste, Genoa and Palermo, which could give Chinese goods faster access to Europe. As other European ports enjoy the


benefits of Chinese investments – Greece’s Piraeus port, which is majority-owned by


www.heavyliftpfi.com


hina’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) once again expanded its geographical reach in March, when Chinese officials signed memoranda of


Fortune International Transport believes the connection between China and Europe is important and will be mutually beneficial.


approach to China Sophie Barnes, EUROPE


Cosco Shipping, for example, as well as Koper in Slovenia and Croatia’s Rijeka in the Adriatic trade network – China’s deep pockets proved difficult for Italy to resist. After slipping back into a recession in


2018, Italy’s project logistics market has been held back by the absence of an investment programme. The lack of initiatives from the Italian government to spur on spending has been heavily criticised. Further still, the high-profile Genoa bridge collapse last year was a tragic example of Italy’s decrepit transport infrastructure. Joining the BRI initiative could jump-


start several projects in the country, improving Italy’s transport infrastructure while also providing opportunities for the project logistics supply chain.


Positive result Paolo Federici from Italy’s Fortune International Transport explained: “If the Chinese sign agreements with Italy to build real infrastructure, this could be a positive result of the talks as, currently, the country is suffering from an infrastructural gap. “However, a negative result will be


If the Chinese sign agreements with Italy to build real infrastructure, this could be a positive result of the talks...


handing over the key of our home to a foreign authority.” There is no denying that there are


Paolo Federici, Fortune International Transport


benefits to reap and the heavy lift and project logistics sector will be one of the first to profit from the growing number of BRI- linked projects. The initiative should create significant demand for over-dimensional cargo and breakbulk deliveries, as well as


May/June 2019 143


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