As Italy prepares to be the first G7 country to sign a Belt and Road initiative MOU with China, a port analyst has questioned whether Chinese investment will distort the ports market.
The MOU has sparked unease from the US, currently engaged in a heated trade war with the country, and Europe, about the potential growth in China’s business influence. Considering the implications for port specifically, Drewry’s Neil Davidson said that investment in transport infrastructure would improve the competitiveness of the Italian ports concerned but this would depend on which ports are involved and how coordinated the overall approach.
“Much will depend on whether Chinese investment is made at one or several Italian ports, and the extent to which it is part of an overall coordinated approach. There is talk of Genoa, Trieste and Palermo being involved for example,” said Mr Davidson. He noted that infrastructure investment may cut across EU transport policy and funding, creating added tension.
The potential infrastructure investment “raises the question of what impact this may have on inter-port competition – Genoa competes with La Spezia and Savona/Vado, for example, and Genoa and Savona/Vado now fall under the Western Ligurian Sea Port Authority.”
The full Port Strategy article available here