Wed, 21 Oct 2020

ROME, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- The economic rebirth of the southern Italian city of Taranto will be carried out in part based on Chinese investments in the city's port operations, according to statements from Senator Mario Turco and other officials.

Turco, who represents Taranto in parliament, said investments in the port area of the city would "create new jobs," something especially important in a city that has suffered from the twin blows of the coronavirus pandemic and the partial shutdown of the Ilva steel plant.

The steel plant is the European Union's biggest steel smelter by capacity, though it is now working at a fraction of its capacity due to environmental and health issues.

When contacted by Xinhua, an official in Turco's office confirmed the remarks that appeared on the news sites for La Repubblica and Today.

Also quoted in the articles was Sergio Prete, president of Taranto's port authority, who said the port would receive cash investments of at least 100 million euros (117 million U.S. dollars) and would create more than 400 new jobs. Most of the money will come from investments from the Ferretti Group, which is controlled by the Weichai Group, a Chinese company. Other capital will come from regional and national government plans and private investors.

"These are very important occasions for our port and for the future of Taranto," Prete said.

Last week, the Ferretti Group unveiled wide-reaching plans to revamp Taranto's port. The company estimated its investments alone would be worth 85.3 million euros and create at least 200 new jobs. Ferretti has said its investments will help Taranto become a new shipbuilding hub.

The development plans for Taranto's port are subject to conclusions from parliamentary committees looking into the security and environmental impacts of the initiatives.

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