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Aponte (MSC) broadsides China

Cernobbio - “China is arrogant. It’s not an easy relationship. It is not an attitude that I am saying they take only with us, or even that they take with us from time to time, but in general. They call the shots, especially at home, and so...”. Gianluigi Aponte isn’t holding back on the subject of China

Cernobbio - “China is arrogant. It’s not an easy relationship. It is not an attitude that I am saying they take only with us, or even that they take with us from time to time, but in general. They call the shots, especially at home, and so...”. Gianluigi Aponte isn’t holding back on the subject of China; and the world’s number two shipowner doesn’t believe in the Silk Road either. Answering a question from Il Secolo XIX-the MediTelegraph, he explained: “The Silk Road is more ideological than practical. It leaves us indifferent. Perhaps it will help, but it will be quite secondary...” The chief of the shipping giant MSC is concise and to the point. This was also apparent on the stage of Conftrasporto’s International Forum. Speaking to an audience of logistics companies, the leader lit up when he predicted “dramatic inflation” because of the rise in oil prices: “We are already at the limit, this will kill the recovery”, he explained, also launching a denouncement against “that cartel of producers which no one, not even the politicians, say anything about.”

Costs are wringing out the budgets of companies and in 2020 there will comes the blow from the IMO, with that green fuel with higher prices that will carry over onto the cargo: “We will do the same as the others: it is a cost that we cannot bear, so we will pass it on to consumers. Starting in 2020. In 2019 we will continue to increase the bunker surcharge if fuel prices increase further. Otherwise, we won’t be in the game.” Aponte supports the United States, despite the Trump tariffs: “There is a risk that a great deal of tonnage will move to the Atlantic from the transpacific route”, but when the U.S. president decided on isolation with sanctions on Iran “well, we at MSC closed everything. We were faced with a choice imposed by America: it was either us or Tehran. We didn’t stop to think about it. If Russia had done it, we wouldn’t even have thought of it.” And then on Europe: the shipowner also launches a torpedo at the European political system, which he says must be reconsidered: “It is difficult to make one Europe out of twenty-seven. We should bring together those five to six countries with the same economic standard and values and then possibly extend this federation to include others when they are up to it.” After the conference, Aponte saw Liguria’s Governor Giovanni Toti and reminded him: “See you soon”. And the captain promises to be there for Genoa yet again: “If we can help we will always be there. Has there been damage to the port in terms of logistics? No. For those who live inside the port. But in general there was no negative effect after the trains began to move again.” And he will soon hold a small summit with the President of the Region in which there will be talk of Calata Bettolo, among other things. There has been another sinking at Gioia Tauro, the port that has become a war scene with Contship: “Is the port struggling? Investments must be made. 50% of the shareholding structure is German and they do not want to invest a single lira in Italy (editor’s note: the reference is to Contship, owned by Eurokai). We have called on the port authority and the authorities in general, but no one is taking action. Half of the $16 million that has been invested is ours. Should I have resorted to bribes? It’s not easy...”


LOGISTICS IN DISTRESS
The problem remains that of competitiveness: “The lack of infrastructure,” explains the president of Confcommercio, Carlo Sangalli – “loses us €34 billion a year, that’s 2% of GDP. The Forum has raised several serious alarms: “Our hauliers face unfair competition from foreign operators and our goods travel more slowly at a higher cost. So, our country is still largely disconnected, a country that has failed to make intermodality work.”

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