One belt, one road

Di Simona Miosi

The “New Silk Road” is an ambitious commercial and strategic project which will connect China and Europe. It will involve 65 countries, both with marine and railway connections. The European last marine destination will be Venice, in Italy, becoming the most important inland water transport between Asia and Europe. The existing harbor facilities are not sufficient, so then new structures will be built within 2030, leading to 6 million TEU units handled. About 2.2 billion euros are needed to construct new off-shore harbor facilities and Chinese companies have already evinced an interest in the building and management project. Half of the amount of money requested for the building process would be financed by the public sector, the other half by the private sector, which will have a usage concession for 40 years.  In 2013 all Italian harbors have handled 10 million TEU units in total; Venice by 2030 will handle 6 million TEUs every day, increasing by 12 times its handling capacity. In 2015 Venice handled only 554,00 TEU units, so it will represent an extremely important opportunity for Italy and for Italian harbors. Venice is the nearest harbor to Central-East Europe and its manufacturing companies’ concentration area. “One Belt, One road” project was conceived because of some researches carried out by EU Directorate General for Mobility and Transport and Shanghai International Shipping Institute. According to them, an increasing number of TEU units will be handled in Italy and Malta, as well as at least 40 million TEU units will be handled to reach Europe and the West. In the Mediterranean Sea the Road will include Athens and Venice; both are strategic harbors in terms of controlling Mediterranean Sea and its East European part. The first one has already signed commercial strategic agreements to increase its handling capacity, whereas the second one is waiting for funds and approvals. In fact, in August 2015 the EU has almost totally rejected the project. A Dutch engineering company won the international tender notice for optimizing the off-shore and on-shore Venice harbor. The ambitious project for Venice harbor aims to let ginormous ships to dock in, especially VLCS (8,000/11,999 TEU) and ULCS (12,000+ TEU) ones. It will also reach the “minimum cost” goal, leading to110000teu-hanjin_buddha-16,500 containers handled every day working 362 days per year. A container shipped from Port Said to Monaco will take 5 days less if passing through Venice harbor than through Northern Sea harbors. A waterway will also connect Venice to Mantua, handling containers from 8 miles off-shore platforms near Venice to Marghera, Chioggia, Porto Levante and finally Mantua. EU granted Venice Harbor Authority with 9.7 million euros financial aid in 2015 to project new barge carriers, its realization was assigned to La Spezia’s San Marco boatyard.

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