China’s rush to European ports, Trieste after Hamburg?

Urso assures: “We will not hand ourselves over to the Chinese”. They are already present in Vado Ligure

“We will not hand ourselves over to Chinese hands”. The proclamation of the new Minister for Economic Development, indeed Enterprises and Made in Italy, Adolfo Urso is significant. He answered a question about the possibility that even the management of the Port of Trieste can pass into Chinese hands as a direct consequence of the choices on Port of Hamburgwhere the Chinese state company Cosco acquired 24.9% of the Tollerort container terminal.

The link between Hamburg and Trieste is also corporate. The logistics company Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (Hhla), owned by the federal administrative body of the German city of Hamburg, holds 50.01% of the Trieste-based company Trieste logistics platform.

Zeno D’Agostino, president of the Port Authority of Trieste and head of the Port System Authority of the Eastern Adriatic Sea, highlighted that the German operation “must not worry”, because “all the instruments, both national and European, are in place. , to avoid situations of control by anyone in the ports “. A concept that also reaffirmed the parent company Pd, former president of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region, Debora Serracchiani: “The state control over ports has never been questioned so far and therefore there is no risk that Trieste ends up in Chinese hands, not even indirectly “.

The agreement signed in Germany, moreover, represents a compromise that comes at the end of heated controversies and provides for a series of measures in an anti-Chinese takeover: the share is lower than the initial hypothesis of 35%; Cosco is denied the possibility “of contractually granting itself veto rights on strategic decisions regarding business or personnel”; the Beijing company will not even be able to appoint management members.

These are necessary measures in the face of Cosco’s continuous expansion in Europe: together with the other Chinese company Cmg, it already controls about 10% of maritime traffic through European ports. They can count on majority stakes in the Greek port of Piraeus and in the Spanish ports of Valencia and Bilbao, as well as stakes in the airports of Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Vado Ligure, in Italy, where the overall Chinese holding with Cosco (40%) and Quingdao Port international (9.9%) is close to 50%.