Genoa decree: final revolution
The final version provides for a reduction of the funds set aside for road haulage and Genoese companies and for the allocation of 30 million from VAT for the Port Authority (despite doubts over its interpretation)
Following recent controversies, the final version of the decree-law issued by the Italian Government to cope with the emergency due to the Morandi Bridge collapse in Genoa was sent to the Presidency of the Italian Republic.
The provisions concerning the port sector and its related activities were subject to another in-depth amendment affecting mainly road haulage companies. As a matter of fact, the estimated cost to compensate for the “greater costs incurred by road haulage companies due to the collapse as they must cover additional motorway stretches, as well as for the logistics difficulties resulting from the transit in and out of urban and port areas” was reduced from 180 million euro in 3 years to 20 million in 2018. Moreover, they must comply with the limits provided for by the “European regulation concerning de minimis aid”.
The obscure Article (covered with the Infrastructures Fund set up with the Financial Act 2017 and refinanced the following year) entitled “Optimization of logistics vehicle flows in and out of the port of Genoa”, setting aside 30 million euro in three years for the creation of an “highly automated” port access gate for the new port road (Via della Superba) remained unvaried, urging the Italian Ministry of Infrastructures and Transports (active in applied information technology through Uirnet, which already intervened after the accident) to use all the necessary powers, “including expropriation for public benefit, for the immediate creation of the information system and of its accessory infrastructures”.
For what concerns the creation of the Simplified Logistics Area in port and dry port areas, it must be observed that, besides Padua, they excluded also Milan (where the Milano Smistamento Terminal is under construction, playing a key role for the Teralp project related to the Genoa-Rotterdam corridor). Therefore, only the “dry ports in Rivalta Scrivia, Novi San Bovo, Alessandria, Piacenza, Castellazzo Bormida, Ovada Belforte, Dinazzano, Rubiera and Melzo and Vado Ligure” remained.
Also the authorized expenditure for the “creation of an urban free zone to support the companies affected by the collapse” was reduced from 50 to 20 million euro only for 2018. Said expenditure shall cover tax exemptions not exceeding 200,000 euro for the companies headquartered in an area within the metropolitan area to be defined by the Commissioner and which, from August the 14th to September the 30th (2018 compared to 2017), suffered a reduction in turnover equal to at least 25%.
Article 9 related to the “VAT revenue increase in the ports within the Western Ligurian Sea Port Authority is not easily interpretable. According to its current wording, it seems to mean that, for 2018 and 2019, the Port Authority shall be entitled to 30 million euro out of the 90 million fund set aside for all Port Authorities (at the latest allocation, the Port Authority received 15.3 million). This will imply discontent on the part of the other ports, as well as the possible resignation of Ministry of Infrastructures and Transports undersecretary Edoardo Rixi, as he himself had warned.