Journey Along the Belt: Italy's Palermo strives to become port hub
It's been a few weeks since Beijing and Rome signed a historic agreement marking Italy's entry to the Belt and Road Initiative. Some Italian ports are hoping to attract Chinese investments. One of those is Palermo. CGTN's Michal Bardavid is there.
Italy's ports no doubt create a perfect gateway for Chinese companies to European markets and several Italian ports are hoping to attract Chinese investments to increase their capacity and fulfill their potentials.
MICHAL BARDAVID PALERMO "The port of Palermo currently operates with a capacity to handle about 10,000 Teus, however officials in Palermo believe that if a much larger and more efficient port is constructed here, that capacity can be increased to reach a level of 16 million Teus."
The President of Confindustria Sicily explains that Palermo's location is very strategic.
ALESSANDRO ALBANESE PRESIDENT, CONFINDUSTRIA SICILY "The Mediterranean represents 0.6% of the seas around the world but in reality, 20% of sea traffic from around the world passes from the Mediterranean. An important consideration is that this strategic position concerns not only the European countries but also the African countries that represent the new economic mine of the next 50 years."
The new port officials in Palermo hope to build needs approximately 5 billion euros of investment. The new project includes a hotel, residence, office spaces and beach facility as well.
Representatives of the Sicily Foundation believe they could put plan into action very quickly.
RAFFAELE BONSIGNORE LAWYER, SICILY FOUNDATION "The construction of a hub port has an important first moment in terms of time, which is bureaucratic, that is to obtain the necessary authorizations for a hub port and cannot be achieved except through the intervention of numerous institutions involved in authorizations. The estimate that has been made for our project, starting from the moment in which the authorizations were obtained, is a period of three years."
As more than half of trade between Europe and China goes through sea routes, a Mediterranean port hub would create a lot of new business potentials.