The Silk Road - Salini: infrastructure is the answer to geopolitical challenges and key to strategic cooperation


Milan, November 30, 2017 - “The new Silk Road is a visionary project, preparing Eurasia for the future and showing the way to follow in response to current geopolitical challenges. In a global scenario, infrastructure can prove itself to be a fundamental instrument to global growth, creating the basis for a true interconnection between people, cities and countries. Geopolitical forecasts sketch a globalised world with no geographical confines but only confines defined by geographic and economic areas with megacities acting as areas of influence and hubs of interconnectivity.” This was the comment made by Pietro Salini, chief executive of Salini Impregilo, at the event “Belt and Road Initiative: Building a Concrete Roadmap for Italy and China’s Joint Growth” organized by Assolombarda and Pirelli in Milan.

The new Silk Road, which Chinese President Xi Jinping describes as “the project of the century”, is a massive investment programme in infrastructure that links China with Europe across more than 60 countries. In a global scenario in which the Internet has become ever faster, goods still take 45 days to reach China from Europe and 18 days by train. So the new Silk Road project responds to demands for infrastructure that shortens these distances, bringing closer China and Europe.

In this scenario, in which interconnectivity plays an ever more strategic role, Salini Impregilo is one of the few companies in Europe to operate as a pure player in the sector of large, complex infrastructure, generating more than 90% of its revenue outside its home market. The Group is able to build projects in every area, from tunnels to hydroelectric dams, from high-speed trains to highways. Its works across countries as well as regions, such as the Trans-Iranian Railway, Trans-Gabon Railway, Trans-Cameroon Railway and part of the Trans-African Highway that unites Nigeria and Kenya.

Some projects Salini Impregilo did with Chinese clients involved big public works that have contributed to the growth of the country, including the Ertan and Xiaolangdi dams that involved the complex feat of diverting the Yellow River. The Group also worked on a section of a highway that follows the old Silk Road: the Western Europe–Western China International Transit Corridor that runs 410 km across Kazakhstan.

“Salini Impregilo has a wealth of experience that gives it the ability to dialogue with the world of finance and industry in lands that we have crossed with our infrastructure. This allows us to support clients with complex construction projects in extreme environmental conditions like the new Panama Canal, the Karahnjukar dam in Iceland or the dams in Ethiopia,” said Salini.

“This project shows once again China’s ability to plan for the future. This should make us reflect so that our own country can plan for current and future generations. The infrastructure market is a sector with very long cycles and our company has always sought to position itself in such a way as to anticipate and embrace the current and future megatrends to improve business opportunities at the international level,” he concluded.



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