Polish consortium to take over Italian port from Chinese

By Grzegorz Adamczyk
2 Min Read

The southern Italian port of Taranto, which is currently controlled by Chinese companies, is to be taken over, with U.S. backing, by a Polish consortium with an investment of €60 million, according to weekly La Verita, 

The consortium of three firms in the logistics sector will be headed by Poland-U.S. Operations Ltd. (PLUS Ops). Former senior U.S. Air Force officer and official in the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Ronald Farkas, is the chairman of that company. The U.S. is giving this venture its blessing as it wishes to see less Chinese involvement in strategic ventures. 

The company has been involved in the coordination of foreign sales of military equipment worth $4 billion between the U.S. and Poland. It is also set to implement projects such as the maintenance of c-130 Hercules planes and the development of electromagnetic surveillance (SIGINT). 

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One of the partners in the investment in the port of Taranto is the Polish logistics company Pol-Mare from Gdynia. The location of the investment will be in the Eco/Park zone of the port of Taranto and the €60 million is to be spent on the construction of an intermodal terminal and the necessary infrastructure.

The presence of Chinese capital in European ports provides China with opportunities for espionage and the extraction of data and increases the risk of cyberattacks, warn experts. According to La Stampa, Hamburg and Piraeus are the ports most vulnerable to such risks. 

In the period between 2004 and 2021, Chinese firms spent more than €9.1 billion on takeovers of European ports, with Ocean Shipping Company (Cosco) and China Merchants being the largest investors. 

China is present in the ports of 10 EU states: Poland, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. Cosco owns 25 percent of shares in the port of Hamburg, which gives the Chinese access to key systems and data, including military secrets of both Germany and NATO.

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