China builds transport links with the Five Ports Alliance

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We all know that China is a manufacturing powerhouse that is keen to get its goods into European markets and in front of western consumers. And we all know that China has been doing deals to build links and routes to export those goods. But you might not have heard of the Five Ports Alliance.

It’s an arrangement between China and Italy that will enable goods from China to more easily integrate with the European railway network and distribution infrastructure.

The Five Ports Alliancea major container terminal partnership centres on the northern Adriatic. The project, managed by the Northern Adriatic Port Association, involves the three Italian ports of Venice, Trieste, and Ravenna, as well as the Slovenian port of Capodistria and Fiume in Croatia.

In due course it will utilise a docking system for large container ships using an offshore platform at the port of Malamocco near Venice that will allow Chinese cargo ships that go through the Suez Canal to unload products.

This is an interesting development that further develops China’s European links. Don’t forget too that they have recently taken a major stake in the Greek port of Piraeus. The Five Ports Alliance opens up new connections. What’s next?

Sourabh Gupta of the Institute for China-America Studies suggests future developments: “Maybe, at a later stage, China will make a play for port and connectivity assets that serve northern Europe. But for the time being, I think they’ve decided to concentrate and consolidate their strategic commercial presence in the broader Mediterranean area and to use it as a jumping-off point down the line to deepen its physical presence within European commercial networks.”

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