Merlo (Federlogistica): the new Silk Route threatens port overcapacity
Musolino suggests paying the “utmost attention” to the Chinese project, focusing on mutual agreements which grant equal market access
Few days after Xi Jinping, attending China – Africa cooperation forum in Beijing, promised further 60 billion investments in the continent, under the 'Belt and Road Initiative' ensign, and after the formal visit of the Italian Ministry of Economics and Finance Tria in China, whose key subject concerned encompassing Italy within the new Silk route - which also appealed other attendees interested in the BRI - Luigi Merlo, former president of Genoa Sea port Authority and current number one at Federlogistica (Conftrasporto), who, after having pinpointed the delay occurred in having discovered potential threat and not exclusively the opportunities provided by the new Silk Route, also recalled how the Chinese maxi- project will not implement a neutral network but a nation overbearing others, according to the decisions taken by many states to sell existing or forthcoming infrastructures provided public debt would be financed.
As reported by former president of Genoa Sea Port Authority, we risk handing the maritime, road and rail transport monopoly over to a single operator and, specifically in Italy, give China a full country featuring huge opportunities.
“The colonialism threat would not only be referred to Africa, but also Europe and the Italian Government should focus on this subject” stated Merlo, particularly pinpointing that once the BRI initiatives will be accomplished, China might set rates and terms in all logistics segments consequently affecting prices, free circulation and therefore changing “the future of a nation or another”.
Still according to Merlo, these maxi investments might foster overcapacity globally somehow resembling latest ships oversupply.
However Pino Musolino and Zeno D’Agostino, respectively representing Venice and Trieste AdSPs, which would likely welcome the Silk route, commented the Belt and Road Initiative.
D’Agostino, while attending a convention in Paris regarding the Dialogue among continents, stated that the BRI initiative, will improve accessibility in some area globally”, also adding that it will develop Southern ports, substantially 'league-B' ranked compared to the Northern range”.
“During former Gentiloni government Genoa, Venice and Trieste were most likely considered investment ports for China and negotiations continued. In Trieste, all involved bodies would be joining partnership with operators already working in the port, thus strengthening and developing new quays, new arrivals, and port operations”.
As told to Il Piccolo before departing for China, along with Minister Tria, Under-secretary of Economics, Michele Geraci, confirmed that Trieste would be the best solution for joining partnership with China among all other ports in the Upper Adriatic.
Meanwhile Musolino, who already criticized this initiative, while attending a debate on “Cooperation along the New Silk Road: political risks and economic opportunities, during the XVIII European Economic Forum for central-western Europe, suggested thoroughly evaluating and planning all steps embroiling Italy in the new Chinese project.
According to AdsP's president this is an opportunity to turn the Mediterranean back into core maritime routes, the primary problems would be the loan policy for infrastructures which might turn into a debt trap, the evident Chinese intention to expand their influence area far beyond the Indo-Pacific and the new geopolitical disputes which might spur the US reaction.