søndag 18. oktober 2020

Demystifying China’s Role in Italy’s Port of Trieste

At the end of September 2020, Germany’s Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) concluded an agreement with the Port of Trieste, in northern Italy, to invest in the development of the port’s logistic platform. The investment includes the acquisition by HHLA of 50.1 percent of the shares of the platform, with the rest belonging to Francesco Parisi S.p.A. (about 23 percent) and ICOP (22 percent), while the remaining shares will be held by Interporto di Bologna. In Europe, and in Washington too, the move has been welcomed as it dispels the ghosts of Chinese investments and the risks these might have implied.

In March 2019, the Port of Trieste was among the signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Italy and the People’s Republic of China in the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The agreement signed by the Port of Trieste with China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) amounted to little more than a declaration of intent and goodwill for the development of future relationships between the entities. Nonetheless, the MoU of March 2019 opened the way for a more specific, and to a certain degree pragmatic, bilateral MoU between the Port of Trieste and CCCC, which was signed in Shanghai in November 2019. This latter MoU envisioned three areas of collaboration between the authority of the Port of Trieste and CCCC: one in Italy, one in China, and in one in third countries.