Italy, NATO ratify Taranto logistics deal. Authorities officially signed the agreement between the Italian government and the Alliance’s Support and Procurement Agency on Wednesday, kickstarting the management of the NATO Southern Operational Centre in Taranto – now a key Allied logistics hub in the Mediterranean Sea.
- Established in 1972 as the “Southern Depot” for the storage of NATO materials, the centre is now one of the international headquarters of the NSPA, whose purpose is to provide multinational procurement and logistical support to the organisation’s member countries.
- Italian Ambassador to NATO Marco Peronaci attended the signing ceremony along with Orhan Muratli, Director of Operations for NATO Logistic Support, and the President of the Apulia Region, Michele Emiliano.
Taranto’s growing importance. The city is home to an “extraordinary set of operational forces” beyond the newly set up SOC, stressed Ambassador Peronaci: there’s an Air Force School, a highly strategic seaport and an airport in Grottaglie, and Taranto also hosts NATO’s Southern Maritime Command, which oversees the Mediterranean area.
- The Italy-NATO agreement, which entails deeper coordination with the region’s infrastructures, “is important for both the general security of the country and of the Alliance,” he added.
- Meanwhile, a Chinese attempt to gain some control over the port has failed.