The recent doubling of the capacity of the Suez Canal, has improved the competitiveness of the Mediterranean region, fuelling trade flows, because it has made this merchant route much cheaper than the circumnavigation of the African continent to reach the North Europe.

The implications of this renewed centrality of the Mediterranean in the international maritime system have been the focus of the conference “Mediterranean Maritime Perspectives, between the Suez Canal and the Silk Road”, which was held February 15 at Naples port.

The event, organised by Autorita’ di Sistema Portuale del Mar Tirreno Centro-Settentrionale (AdSP – Centre-North Tyrrhenian Sea Port Authority) in collaboration with SRM, addressed the effects that this growth in traffic has for the ports of southern Italy.

To provide analysis, the recent study by SRM and AlexBank on “The impact of the new Suez Canal on traffic and on the competitiveness of the Mediterranean” was presented, with a report by Alessandro Panaro, Maritime & Energy Manager of SRM.

“We are faced with a profound reorganisation of international maritime traffic, the results of which are not at all obvious. In this phase, the Mediterranean can count on a window of competitive opportunities, but must be able to consolidate it over time. We need a strategy, first of all European, to consolidate the internal connections to the Mediterranean basin, between the north shore and the south bank.

But it is also necessary that the southern ports of our country are adequately equipped with modern infrastructures, consistent with the characteristics required by the market”, said AdSP President, Pietro Spirito, who presented his book: “The future of the southern port system between the Mediterranean and the Silk Road”, in which he traces a geopolitical map of the great transformations that are being determined by the Chinese policy, which is affecting political relations, commercial and maritime systems.

“Our analysis highlights how the doubling of the Suez Canal has contributed significantly to increasing the centrality of the Mediterranean in world trade.

Double-digit growth rates are evidence that shipowners are increasingly utilising this route in the medium and Far East trade, and that the Canal will be the hub of China’s Belt & Road Initiative.

The increase in the maritime competitiveness index about 10 points that Egypt has made in the last three years is, moreover, another clear example that the construction of infrastructures, in synergy with a large industrial project, which is the free zone, it can be a great generator of economy”, said Massimo Deandreis, General Manager of SRM.

Who took part in the debate on the risks and opportunities of the Southern port system together with Graziano Delrio , Deputy and former Minister of Infrastructures and Transport; Michele Geraci , Undersecretary for Economic Development; and Adriano Giannola , President SVIMEZ.