ROME, July 16 (Xinhua) -- A new logistics hub to speed up operations and boost e-commerce was inaugurated by Italy's postal service Poste Italiane in Bologna on Tuesday.
The new 50-million euro (56.1 million U.S. dollars) complex is the largest e-commerce logistics center ever built in the country, according to the company.
The hub stretches over 75,000 square meters at Interporto (freight village) Bologna. Its new-generation robotic system can sort 250,000 packages per day, Poste Italiane said.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by Italian President Sergio Mattarella, who addressed Poste Italiane's top management, representatives of the local authorities, and some of the logistics center's 600 employees.
"The new hub is a strategic infrastructure ... that will operate in synergy with Italy's largest distribution network," Poste Italiane's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Matteo Del Fante said in a statement.
"Taking advantage of the convergence between mobile telecommunications and digital payments, it will allow us to carry out the innovation path outlined by our 'Deliver 202'' business plan, giving a crucial contribution to the spreading of e-commerce and digitalisation in the country," the CEO said.
Poste Italiane nowadays operates a network of 12,800 post offices across the country, employing 134,000 workers and assisting some 35 million customers.
It has the largest service distribution network in Italy. Its activities include post and package delivery, financial and insurance services, payment systems and mobile telecommunications.
Its financial assets are worth 514 billion euros. E-commerce payments currently represent 25 percent of all payment transactions managed, according to the company.
In order to expand its services at a global level -- and better serve an increasingly international clientele at home -- Poste Italiane has concluded several deals with other countries over the years, including with Russia, Egypt, Turkey, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and China.
Deals with Poste Italiane's Chinese counterparts included a 2013 agreement with China Post to gain access to a major e-commerce platform in China (Ule.com).
The two companies signed two other memorandums of understanding to cooperate in the logistics and financial sectors.
Poste Italiane also inked an agreement with China UnionPay International to enable the use of Chinese credit cards in its 7,000 ATMs in Italy, and a second one with the Postal Savings Bank of China (PSBC) to allow Chinese citizens in Italy to make and receive digital money transfers to and from their country. (1 euro = 1.12 U.S. dollars)