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China Investing in Gulf of Genoa Container Port, But Regional Infrastructure Is Crucial

Aug. 29, 2019 (EIRNS)—Vado Ligure in the Gulf of Genoa, with a population of some 8,500, has an ongoing big construction project: The Vado Gateway terminal, scheduled to open in December, will be able to service large container ships. The terminal was a project of the Netherlands-based APM Terminals, part of the Danish conglomerate Maersk, and two Chinese companies, including COSCO Shipping Ports, reported Xinhua yesterday. COSCO has purchased a 40% stake in the terminal. The new terminal will have an annual capacity of 900,000 TEUs (20-foot equivalent unit), and a new off-dock four-lane rail facility with a capacity for 14 trains per day will also provide rapid access to central and northern Europe.

The major city of Genoa to the east is currently Italy’s busiest sea port. Genoa Deputy Mayor Giancarlo Vinacci told Xinhua he believes “in this case there is a need in the western world to fuse ‘old’ Europe together with ‘young’ China.”

Chinese investments are welcomed, as they bring exactly what Italy needs the most—infrastructure, as EIR has documented, reporting on the fight in Italy’s government over the Lyon-Turin rail line, and infrastructure in the south. Italy hasn’t developed infrastructure in its ports or inland areas in the past few years, Paolo Cornetto, managing director of APM Terminals at Vado Ligure, told Xinhua: “In Italy, the period required to create infrastructure is very long. In this context, the arrival of COSCO has accelerated the conclusion ... of the project.”

The Vado Gateway is set to be the first semi-automated port in Italy with a fully-automated gate and stacking yard after the construction of the terminal is completed, Xinhua reported today. Anticipating booming transportation of goods at the terminal, logistic companies have rented or bought warehouses nearby in the hope of taking a slice of the cargo in the future.

“It is good that all these firms want to enter into Vado (Ligure) port. Now we have to develop the infrastructure to speed up the transportation process,” said Danilo Causa, who is in charge of the local transport federation of the CISL trade union confederation. “It would be useful if part of the investment in infrastructure could come from China. This would speed up the process, as in Italy it is quite slow.”

Pointing out that Italy is the first G7 country to sign on to the Belt and Road Initiative—which occurred last March when Chinese President Xi Jinping made a state visit to Rome and the Mezzogiorno—University of Genoa Prof. Gian Enzo Duci, president of Italian National Federation of Ship Brokers and Agents, told Xinhua “there will be a big part of cargo of the present and the future (through Italy). And if we are able to update and upgrade our road and rail infrastructure, we can be the Chinese door to Central Europe.”

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