Chinese state-owned multinational conglomerate COSCO Shipping, the world’s fourth largest in this sector, has opened a new train line from the Italian North-East port of Trieste to Slovenia. The new land-sea line, launched on June 27, aims to facilitate transportation of products from Chinese home appliances manufacturer Hisense.
Why Trieste? The port of Trieste in the most northern part of the Adriatic Sea is one of Italy’s most important commercial ports, the 11th European port and the first Italian port for total tonnage, and sits about 100 miles from Velenje, Slovenia, where Hisense, the only company that the new train line will serve a few times a week, maintains its European headquarters.
- Trieste is the fourth channel opened in Europe as part of COSCO Shipping’s China-Europe land-sea express line, after the Piraeus Port of Athens, Greece, its principal link, dopo il canale principale del porto del Pireo, the port of Rijeka in Croatia, and the channel Valencia-Madrid-Bilbao in Spain.
- According to Chinese wire service Xinhua, Massimiliano Fedriga, president of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region and a member of the League party, thanked COSCO Shipping and Hisense for recognizing the potential of Trieste’s port and expressed his hope to grow the commercial ties between the region and China.
‘Silk Road’ hub in Italy. In the future, “the electrical products produced by Hisense in Velenje will also be transported to Trieste by the block train, loaded on container vessels of COSCO Shipping,” and shipped to other destinations in Europe and beyond, Executive Vice President of COSCO Lin Ji said during the ceremony.
- Trieste Maritime Terminal “represents the gateway to Central and Eastern Europe,” Stefano Selvatici, managing director of the terminal, said as he highlighted the move as “a crucial milestone.”
Reactions and next moves? According to Zeno D’Agostino, Vice-Chairman of the European Sea Ports Organization (ESPO) and President of the Port System Authority of the Eastern Adriatic Sea, in the near future COSCO Shipping will also connect Hungary. “Trains to and from Hungary — he explained — will transport products from several clients with a daily cadence.”
- Already the port of Trieste counts trains to and from many European markets, including Germany, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Hungary, Slovakia, and Czech Republic. And now Slovenia. “This is our advantage,” Mr D’Agostino said.
- But there are some who are doubtful. “I’ve always been very critical” about Chinese companies entering our logistics systems, Michelangelo Agrusti, president of Confindustria Alto Adriatico, told the Piccolo daily. He added: “The ‘Silk Road’ now runs through Italy again, during a key phase for our country as we re-define investment and trade routes towards the East.