Chinese and Italian Constructors have worked together closely to make sure that the civil engineering projects of the Port of Vado Ligure in Northwest Italy’s Liguria Region can be completed on schedule, despite the severe impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

A key project facilitating the Belt & Road Initiative, the Port of Vado Ligure, 140 kilometres away from Italy’s industrial powerhouse Turin and 190 kilometres away from Milan, enjoys ideal geographical location. It is of vital importance for the economic development in northern Italy.

The port is the gateway terminal extended to central and northern Europe within the framework of the Belt & Road Initiative. Chinese enterprises participated in the construction and operation of the new container terminal. The construction of its second phase is scheduled to be completed within 2020.

The container terminal in the Port of Vado Ligure is the first semi-automatic one in Italy. To date, all its public infrastructure construction projects are completed, while the construction was once facing the risk of shut down because of the impact of COVID-19 epidemic outbreak.

In March 2020, the COVID-19 epidemic broke out in Italy, making it one of the countries with the most severe prevention and control situation in Europe. This is a major challenge for the construction of the second phase of the container terminal.

In order to ensure the smooth progress of construction, the terminal management department has taken several measures. On the one hand, they strengthened consultation and obtained the concession from the Italian government. On the other, they did a good job of epidemic prevention to ensure the zero infection of the workers.

The container terminal under construction has attracted wide attention of all parties. According to the memorandum of understanding on Belt & Road cooperation signed by the Chinese and Italian governments, the two countries will strengthen the connection between the Italian plan to develop its northern ports and the InvestItalia program with the China-proposed Belt & Road Initiative. The container terminal is a concrete practice of the MOU.

“The Port of Vado Ligure matters not only the development of the Province of Savona, but also the development of the whole Liguria region. It is the greatest hope for the industrial development in this region,” said Angelo Vaccarezza, an Italian Politian.

Thanks to the joint efforts of China and Italy, the construction was completed as scheduled on May 30. On July 15, the engineering director submitted a “project completion statement” to the port authority of west Liguria, marking the official completion of all public infrastructure construction.

Along with the construction of new container terminal, Vado Ligure, where the port is located, ushered in a new special cargo transportation company. Its new logistics center is only about one kilometer away from the port as the crow flies.

The logistics center covers an area of 300,000 square meters, which is about the size of 42 football fields. Its radiation range covers not only northern Italy, but also Europe and other countries in the world.

The Port of Vado Ligure, which is integrated into the Belt & Road Initiative, is bringing all-round positive changes to the area’s development

“The original enterprises in the Province of Savona continue their operation to achieve innovative development, while enterprises from other regions have come to invest here. Cargo can be transferred through the port to the Belt & Road radiation areas, from the Province of Savona in northern Italy’s Liguria region and the industrial hart of Europe to China and even the entire eastern world,” said Pierangelo Olivieri, president of the Province of Savona.

In addition to sea transport, a more complete railway and highway system is taking shape around the port. The construction of the high-speed freight railway corridor between Switzerland and Italy and the freight station in northwestern Italy has already begun. The local government also plans to invest 36 million euros (about 42.12 million dollars) to rearrange the logistics park around the container terminal and update the road facilities.

A new container logistics passage between the Port of Vado Ligure and the Port of Piraeus in Greece, another important terminal of the Maritime Silk Road, is about to open on October 19. In the foreseeable future, the Port of Vado Ligure will be more deeply integrated into the Belt & Road Initiative and form closer ties with relevant countries and regions so as to achieve better in-depth development.

“As we are involved in the Belt & Road Initiative, both ordinary residents and government departments are willing to support it. It benefits not only local residents, but also the investors from afar. We should work together to better establish the new ‘silk road’”, said Angelo Vaccarezza.

Regarded as an example of cooperation between European and Chinese businesses, the port is expected to bolster the local economy, create more jobs and further open the northwestern Italian region to outside markets.