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Potential Chinese Investments In Rijeka, Trieste May Threaten Slovenia’s Koper Port

Potential Chinese investments in Rijeka, Trieste may threaten Slovenia’s Koper port

Koper, Slovenia (PortSEurope) April 16, 2019 – Koper port may lose its leading role in the northern Adriatic and become a port of regional importance if China’s COSCO increases its activities in Rijeka and Trieste ports. Even under the most optimistic scenario, the future of Koper port does not seem bright given the slow pace of the uncertain future of the railway link between Koper
and the Divača rail hub. The EU demands for drastic saving and privatisation by Greece in exchange for financial aid resulted in Piraeus Port Authority SA being managed by China’s COSCO Shipping Ports Limited, one of the biggest Mediterranean ports. Since then, container traffic has boomed. Last week Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic hosted Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, and the two countries signed agreements for Chinese companies to be involved in Croatian infrastructure projects, of which port development is a leading contender. Rijeka port is a likely beneficiary of any Chinese involvement. Only last month, China also signed an agreement to invest heavily in Trieste port, Italy. EU financial demands lead countries like Greece to seek other sources for investments, and China takes advantage of the situation. Last week, Greece officially joined the ”Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries” Group, which had been known as ”16+1″, and will be renamed the “17+1”. The 17+1 format is an initiative by China aimed at intensifying and expanding cooperation with 11 EU Member States and 5 Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia). These are challenge that Koper port faces, and port traffic numbers have been limited by rail connections, for which investment has been slow and hindered by political issues. Copyright (C) PortSEurope. All Rights Reserved. 2019.

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