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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
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23/04/19 11:05

Genoa-based logistics operator celebrated the opening of the new ‘food’ logistics hub in Cagliari

Grendi celebrated its partnership with Barilla as its exclusive partner dealing with storage and distribution activities in Sardinia, and it announced investments in new warehouses (if the bureaucratic hindrances affecting the entire Port Canal are overcome)

Cagliari – The almost two century old company Grendi, belonging to the Genoese family Musso, celebrated the official opening of the new Barilla Hub at the Cagliari Canal Port. Following the awarding of the related tender, Grendi became the new exclusive logistics partner of the world’s leader in consumer food products Barilla, for which it carries out storage and distribution activities in Sardinia.

After a month and a half since the start of operations (on March the 4th), they organized a party with all the staff involved in this project: warehouse personnel, distribution owner-drivers – “representing our reliability when we approach customers”, Costanza Musso pointed out – and “white-collar workers”, as well as the main logistics and sales representatives of Barilla and First.

While illustrating its current and future strategies, the logistics operator declared to be willing to double its investment in the port of Cagliari.

“The ship-terminal-warehouse transport combination proved successful as it connects all the links of the sea-land logistics chain with timeliness and with optimal environmental impact and costs, therefore it must be implemented with additional efforts”, declared M.A. Grendi dal 1828 Managing Director Costanza Musso, who moved to Cagliari to manage this important project, being ready to double the existing warehouse.

“Based on our customers’ requirements, we are planning to build another depot in Cagliari and to add a ship to the regular connection, thus hiring 100 new employees after the creation of the warehouse”.

Meanwhile, Grendi is focusing on the important customer recently acquired following the awarding of the tender in July 2018. In fact, it replaced Barilla’s trusted logistics operator Number 1, which was previously used in Sardinia within a network including the Villacidro (Cagliari) warehouse.

In the first five-months period (started in October), Grendi directly managed this logistics depot, employing all direct and indirect personnel.

At the beginning of March, product stocks and all the activities were transferred to the more modern platform of the Cagliari Canal Port, thus transporting 3,000 pallets of products with 30 motor vehicles, 40 warehouse persons and the entire transport  & administration management team of Grendi’s headquarters in Cagliari, in order to make sure that Barilla’s products are always available in sales outlets.

This is the first time that Barilla outsources its second level distribution activities to a partner other than the logistics operator Number 1, which is a subsidiary of the Barilla group. This diversification is consistent with the corporate mission based on the Emilia giant’s motto “Good for you, good for the planet”.

This ‘virtuous’ approach allows for the reduction of the environmental impact of the distribution process compared to the previous network, in compliance with the strategy providing for the expansion and diversification of the logistics operators used, as confirmed by Barilla Logistics Group Supply Chain Vice President Roberto Magnani.

“Some 40% of the 1.8 million tons that we produce worldwide refer to Italy; 20% of them (800,000 tons) are distributed through 7 second-level peripheral networks such as Sassari, being the only Northern hub. Sardinia manages 6% of the production stock handled by the second-level network, amounting to 10,000 tons, and the Cagliari hub carries out 600,000 shipments per year”, Barilla Logistics Director – Italy Riccardo Stabellini explained.

“The two key issues are the company’s strategic mission, summed up in the motto ‘Good for you, good for the planet’, to which also the logistics function must contribute; and the diversification of its logistics suppliers, based on the ‘one-third rule’, i.e. never amount to more than a third of our suppliers’ turnover, and never entrust more than a third of a specific business to a single supplier”.

According to the Parma-based principal, the new Sardinia network achieves both these objectives. The “green” aspect has a significant impact since, by transferring its hub from Villacidro to the Canal Port of Cagliari, Barilla reduced CO2 emissions resulting from transports connected to its warehouse by 79%. As a matter of fact, by transferring the depot 1 km rather than 108 km away (the distance between Villacrido and the port) from the port, Barilla reduces CO2 emissions, both in the supply of its depot with large trucks, and in the distribution of goods with smaller vehicles.

“When, in March 2018, we reviewed our distribution logistics strategy we were definitely not looking for the cheapest service supplier, rather for a supplier which would interpret our corporate philosophy in the best way possible because those who support our supply chain must live up to our business reputation. Therefore, we chose Grendi out of a short list of three possible candidates”.

Probably it is not by chance that both the companies that entered into this logistics services supply agreement date back to the nineteenth century: Grendi was established in 1828 and Barilla in 1877.

In a video projected during the event, Grendi group’s chairman Bruno Musso recalled that his father Ugo established the first maritime connection with Cagliari.

In fact, Grendi has been working in Sardinia since 1936, providing logistics services from and to the island with warehouses, trucks and maritime line, although the great development occurred with the port terminal under concession in the Canal Port of Cagliari since 1998, and with the subsequent 10,000 sm distribution warehouse built in the dry port area in 2013.

In the late sixties, Bruno and Giorgio Musso devised a hybrid naval unit known first as “Classe Centauro”, and then as Vento di Levante, which was the first con-ro vessel of the Italian and Mediterranean fleet.

Besides, the Musso family had a pioneering approach also to the size issue: a few decades ago, in order to optimize its logistics cycle, Barilla forced Grendi to change the size of its loading units switching to 24’ (7.43 meters) containers with a capacity of 5 more pallets of goods.

This somehow anticipated market trends as the entire maritime cluster realized the need and expediency of standardized container sizes (compared to 20’ and 40’) to maximize loads.

As a matter of fact, Grendi has always proved able to find successful solutions for any circumstance in order to keep pace with evolving markets and to survive the increasing competition.

“Our strength is the almost immediate availability of goods from their unloading to their distribution, with fuel and emissions saving. The employment related to our group in Sardinia, including direct employees and satellite activities, amounts to 250 workers in Cagliari and Sassari”, Grendi Trasporti Marittimi Managing Director Antonio Musso explained.

“Building our first warehouse was not easy and, also due to bureaucratic slowness, it took us 5 years to launch our activity. However, our group always believed in cooperation to achieve the economic and social development of the territory where it carries out its activities”, the Genoese shipowner pointed out.

“Building our second warehouse in the area close to the port will not be easy either as the entire Canal Port area lacks landscape authorizations due to a procedural error during its construction. Institutions are trying to find a solution and the recent developments related to the Cagliari stadium project suggest good prospects for our project.

We hope to be able to define timings for investors, and that such timings are more similar to those recorded elsewhere: in Piacenza, one of our customers obtained the licence in one year and it built a 100,000 sm warehouse, thus favouring employment and business”, Musso concluded.

However, the problem related to the lack of landscape authorizations for the entire Canal Port area – which prevented the fencing of the customs free zone area – might compromise the lawfulness of all the infrastructures built so far, starting with the container terminal, which already lost its main customers.

The Port Authority – whose president Massimo Deiana attended the Grendi-Barilla opening, after his “cruise campaign” at the Seatrade 2019 in Miami – recently convened a service conference focusing on the relaunch of competitiveness of the commercial maritime area. 

Meanwhile, they are waiting for the Italian Government to take action about the Contship Italia dispute – which might affect several hundreds of port workers – and the decisions to be taken about the current concessionaire of the Canal Port, CICT, by the end of April.

To that end, both the president of the Sardinia Port Authority and the new Sardinia Region Governor Christian Solinas went to Rome to deal with this difficult issue.

The meeting held at the Ministry of Infrastructures and Transports was attended by the technical departments of the Ministry and by Deputy Minister Edoardo Rixi, and it focused also on the port, on the development of the Special Economic Zone (which received the green light from the ministry and will soon by approved by the Italian Council of Ministers) and on the Enclosed Free Zone.

Angelo Scorza    

TAG : Logistics
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