What's happening in Mediterranean & Africa





Qingdao is proud of its fully automated cargo handling, but how well will it iron out bugs others experience?

Not long ago, Qingdao, and eastern Chinese city of 10 million on the eastern side of the Yellow Sea, invited journalists and information officers the world over to check out its automated port facilities.

Clearly proud of itself, and its important role in Chinese world trade, being a pivot port for the railway landbridge to Europe, which has had such a promising run in recent years, Qingdao has taken the plunge into full automation of its port.

Thus, today's Qingdao port’s two berth station employs nine monitoring staff, instead of the usual 60 personnel employed by most of the conventional international ports around the world. This leaves Shanghai as the only other port in the world that rivals Qingdao's level of automation.

China's exports of cheap high quality cyber optic cable stand to shape the Internet world in years to come

Massive Chinese shipments of cheap, high quality fibre optic cable, are going to poorer nations involved with China's Belt and Road infrastructure.

While many see such a development in a positive light, others look though the glass darkly and stress the dangers. One such man works on North African affairs in which he sees a clear and present danger.

According to this analyst at a mayor London research house, such a capability puts Belt and Road managers in a position to more readily sell, if not compel the use and sale of China's Huawei and ZTE hardware and software systems.

Winning or losing Sino-American trade war imposes different risks and costs on the antagonists

Winning or losing the Sino-American trade war appears to impose different risks and costs on the main antagonists, China's President Xi Jingping and US President Donald Trump.

Normally, we associate "loss of face" as a Chinese preoccupation, but in this case, defeat in the trade war stands to be catastrophic for the American presidency of Donald Trump, while losing for President Xi would be far less costly to himself and the world.

But the world of Donald Trump, with the press in the media, academic, bureaucratic legions open ever-ready to bring him down, surviving failure, seems to be the remotest of remote possibilities.

How shippers and shipping can survive the Sino-American trade war by understanding its nature

Like the great naval engagements in the days of wind and sail that led to decisive Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, trade wars are conducted in slow motion. There are few sudden moves.

Too few appreciate the unique dynamics at work, combining economic social wind and weather, and the conditions of rival forces that play roles for good or ill. Too many see the Sino-American Trade War as schoolboys wrestling in the mud, sorely in need of a teacher to make them play nice.

What is forgotten is that negotiation is the battle and the deal is the treaty that concludes the war. To understand the significance of the tactics it is important to understand how these titans, President Xi Jingping and President Donald Trump deploy forces at their disposal and camouflage their vulnerabilities.


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