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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
23/04/19 12:42

SAPIR is preparing a new development phase

President Sabadini rejoiced for the recent approval of the PUA plan, allowing for the expansion of the port of Ravenna towards new logistics areas

Ravenna – SAPIR Porto Intermodale Ravenna Spa Chairman Riccardo Sabadini announced to Ship2Shore that a recent bureaucratic resolution might be a turning point for the port of Ravenna.

The town council headed by Mayor Michele De Pascale, who regards the port as a local development driving force, approved the Darsena San Vitale Urban Implementation Plan (PUA) submitted by Councillor Federica Del Conte, thus favouring the strengthening of the leading port Group in the High Adriatic area.

Basically, the resolution will involve an increase of the port's productive surface, thus granting the public/private company's request, but above all it is a sign of its development following its several problems, such as those related to dredging.

The resolution provides for the expansion of port areas between via Classicana and via della Burchiella, for a total surface of 852,000 square meters, 44,000 of which for sidings, 74,000 for road networks and 31,000 for green areas and filter mitigation.

"Size is not the most important aspect since only 7.5 hectares are usable, but the area is being certified and it is opposite the entrance of the general cargo terminal. Now projects can start, followed by construction works, therefore SAPIR will have a dry port area for ferrous materials storage, a developable area for new logistics warehouses. We are evaluating the best intended use for the first 20,000 sqm area but, before building, we need to increase the surface by 1 meter. This is the first actual step to implement the development of the terminal, improving its capacity and the  road network of the surrounding area", Sabatini rejoiced.

Hopefully, this will not be the only area as the PUA plan submitted other requests to the Municipality related to the adjacent Trattaroli and Logistica 1 areas, which are much wider than the San Vitale area.

SAPIR still owns available quay port areas, as well as 80 hectares of logistics areas directly connected to terminals and quays.

The necessary procedure for the approval of the latter will be more complex, with uncertain timings, although it should be completed by January the 1st 2021, i.e. the time limit set for the approval of the PUA plans, which are codified according to the old regulation, as provided for by a new regional law.

The public manager Sabadini – appointed in the summer of 2016 – is optimist about the future of the port and he is confident about the renewal of offices scheduled for next June.

"My predecessor (Matteo Casadio, ed.) did a good job and left a healthy company, which is still recording significant profits. I am ready for another three-year term of office, if they appoint me", the Romagna lawyer explained. Sabatini had already been councilor from 2001 to 2011, during the mandate of chairman Giordani Angelini, former Mayor of Ravenna and Undersecretary of State for Transports and Navigation during Massimo D'Alema's first and second mandates, and during Giuliano Amato's first term of office.

Mayor De Pascale appointed Sabadini as chairman of the company SAPIR, a 28.9% affiliate of Ravenna Holding – the joint stock company through which the municipal body manages its operational holdings, from its 5% stake in the public utility Hera to its majority stakes in drugstores  (100%) and undertakers (92%).    

"The Mayor appointed me to deal with the hoary issue related to the double mission as public interest company holding quay areas, and company carrying out also terminal activities, incorporated by special law", Sabatini declared after his appointment. "The past stalemate and oppositions must be overcome in the collective interest of the Port of Ravenna".

Sabatini cooperates with managing director Mauro Pepoli, headquartered in the modern and functional management centre of Via Zani opened in 2011 and consisting of 5 buildings, including the new Customs Agency seat, and equipped with a high-performance cogeneration plant and district heating.

Having been appointed at the end of 2016, right before SAPIR's 60th anniversary, the chairman published the book "Un'impresa in porto: storia della SAPIR 1957-2017" [An enterprise in the port: SAPIR's history 1957-2017] to have citizens get acquainted with the history of the most important company in Ravenna.

As a matter of fact, the history of the public-private partnership SAPIR is strictly related to the history of the town and of its most influential social, economic and political figures such as Mattei, Ferruzzi and Zaccagnini, at a national level, and Cavalcoli, D'Attorre and Cavina at a local level. The hybrid legal status of the company was often criticized, as well as the presence of political figures at its helm.

During the company's 60 years of activity, ENI has always been in its shareholding structure and Board of Directors.

Having been established to favour the development of the Candiano Canal – whose creation had started in the first half of the eighteen century, and which needed to be widened and deepened, thus being reclaimed and improved – SAPIR included in its acronym the letter I, initially standing for "Industrial", which was subsequently replaced by "Intermodal" to signify the evolution towards a port commercial logics.

The port of Ravenna is one of its kind in Italy since its private and non-state-owned lands on which terminal operators work provide more rapid timings to investors. However, the 4 supporters of port development, i.e. Mattei (the first president), Medici, Greco and Cavalcoli believed that the port needed a single management.

In 1957, its shareholding structure included ANIC (ENI Group, 51%), Chamber of Commerce (10%), Serafino Ferruzzi (39%), and this was the ideal partnership to support infrastructure and petrochemical development. A few months later, the Municipality, Province and Region entered the company's share capital.

The corporate mission was reviewed over time: first aiming at its industrial function to allow for excavations and provide space to ENI. In fact, the discovery of methane fields in 1952 changed the agricultural sector of Ravenna.

In contrast, hydrocarbons drilling platforms are currently being disused.

The seventies witnessed the success of terminal operators, which in 1994, with the port reform introduced by Law n. 84, turned into port enterprises.

In 2001, Chairman Angelini's provision prohibited the sale of lands, while the Madia Decree of 2016 changed the legal status, forbidding to hold public shareholdings.

As concerns the current millennium, the four "factors" to focus on were the capital increase of 2000, the reorganization of operational functions, the investments in safety and best practices – on September the 6th 2004 SAPIR was the first terminal operator in Italy which obtained the Safety certification in compliance with the OHSAS 18001 regulation – and the creation of new headquarters in the management centre in 2011.

Meanwhile, they outsourced the container function with the creation of the Terminal Container Ravenna (TCR) in 1998, and the entry of Contship Italia in its shareholding structure (30%) in 2002; the other main operating companies within the group being SAPIR and Terminal Nord, besides several smaller service companies such as Sapir Engineering, Under Water Anchors and Alliance Port Service.

The joint stock company's annual turnover amounts to some 27 million euro, with the entire group recording a 62 million turnover.

SAPIR's most long-lived chairmen, boasting a decade each, were Valbonesi from 1992 and Angelini from 2001.

At present, SAPIR Group is the main enterprise within the port, working in the general, special, abnormal and liquid cargo, container and service sectors: engineering, terminal operations logistics, machineries maintenance and port infrastructures.

The parent company SAPIR works as terminal operator, providing handling and storage of fertilizers, inert and ferrous materials, timbers, plant engineering, liquid and temperature controlled goods, for a total annual handling of 2.7 million tons (mostly feldspars and sands), 30% of which is transported by railway. The terminal operator manages a 500,000 sm area and 1,600 linear meters of quays with a 10.50 meters water depth connected to an 11 Km railway network, and equipped with port cranes to handle oversize loads up to 400 tons.

At the beginning of 2019 2 giant mobile cranes arrived from Rostock (Germany): one Liebherr 600 for SAPIR and one Liebherr 500 for Terminal Nord which, together with 2 23 cm buckets, amount to a total investment of 7 million euro, thus exceeding 50 million euro of investments made in the past 5 years to strengthen handling equipment.

The operating area includes 67,000 sm of warehouses, 41,000 sm of covered areas and 148,000 sm of storage yards, as well as a tank yard with a storage capacity of 84,000 cm.

Its subsidiary Terminal Nord manages a terminal specialized in inert materials with a capacity of 2 million tons/year.

The other subsidiary TCR Terminal Container Ravenna Spa (70% SAPIR, 30% Contship Italia of the Hamburg-based Eurokai Group) manages a terminal with a capacity of 200,000 TEUs/year and it is planning to create the new Trattaroli Peninsula terminal.


Angelo Scorza


Container sector remains stable in Ravenna

Milena Fico: “TCR is a sound enterprise looking towards the Middle East”


Within the SAPIR Group, TCR Terminal Container Ravenna Spa – a 70% subsidiary of SAPIR and 30% subsidiary of LSCT La Spezia Container Terminal, in turn being a subsidiary of Contship Italia – plays a vital role, also due to its container handling activities.

As concerns the company's trend, Chief Executive Officer Milena Fico revealed to Ship2Shore the  profits for the year 2018: "last year we recorded higher profits, but only due to extraordinary items. Volumes are stable at 185,000 TEUs per year, equal to 90% of the total of the port of Ravenna", the Romagna manager confirmed.

Its main equipment include 4 ship-to-shore cranes, 1 mobile crane and 5 RMGs.

Out of the first four cranes, 3 were revamped, together with 2 RMGs deployed on tracks.

"Our 680 linear meters quay can host ships up to 3,000 TEUs. We have 10 weekly services, 4 of which connecting to Israel and operated by ZIM. Ravenna hosts also ships of all the major operators:  MSC, Maersk come Seago, CMA CGM, Hapag Lloyd with feeder, Grimaldi, Borchard Lines”, the CEO went on, adding that "the Middle East is growing by +4%. Besides, TCR hosts the services of the British company Brochard Line, being the most direct line which reaches Limassol (Cyprus) in 3.5 days transporting also reefer containers, while MSC is the the fastest line as it reaches Alexandria (Egypt) in 3 days. We focus especially on the intermodal aspect, sending chemicals to Northern Europe with the partner of the OceanoGate group", Fico concluded. In developing the company's activities, the latter is supported by Alessandro Battolini, the former  operations manager recently appointed as sales manager.