Economy / Foreign relations / Transport

The new Suez Canal and the Italian seaports

The Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi opened the New Suez Canal, a massive expansion of the existing one which was completed in record time by the new Government.

The Canal has always been a crucial infrastructure – a war was fought over it in 1956, and the British Empire fell when London lost control of the Canal -, but its importance has even increased today, since the sea routes have moved from the Atlantic Ocean to the lanes connecting the West with Asia.

In theory, these should be excellent news for Italy, whose seaports are in a perfect position to attract the traffic from Asia to Europe. Indeed, in Italy there is much talking about the reopening of the ancient Silk Road, which once connected the flourishing city-States of Northern Italy with the Chinese Empire.

For the time being, however, the container ships prefer to cross the Strait of Gibraltar and unloading their goods in the seaports of Northern Europe. Why? Simply because they are more quick and efficient. Moreover, the Italian seaports lack the railway connections which are necessary to take the containers to their final destination.

The Italian Parliament has just authorized the Government to reform by decree the Italian Port Authorities, but this is not enough: infrastructures, and not just norms, are needed.

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