Aponte interviewed about ports and logistics in Italy
MSC Chairman criticized China, praised the port of Gioia Tauro and prepared the launching of Medlog’s services, waiting for the renewal of Tirrenia’s public agreement
Rome – At the first annual meeting of the trade association Assarmatori, the guest of honour was definitely Gianluigi Aponte. Given the significance of his companies within the association and being aware that his image gives weight to Assarmatori’s requests, at the end of the meeting MSC founder agreed to answer the questions from the press.
Mr Aponte, let’s start with the new container terminal in Genoa, when will it be completed?
“Works are in progress. There is a slight delay, but I believe that the first container will be unloaded in 6/7 months”.
As concerns the port of Genoa, are investments slow to materialize?
“I do not think that the port of Genoa has problems related to investments. The Morandi bridge issue was solved very well, and I believe there are no logistics problems, therefore nothing has changed. As long as this is strategic for us, I will keep on making the necessary investments in Genoa”.
Pallenzona (Confcommercio) said that the port hubs of Genoa and Trieste are not able to serve Central European markets. Do you agree with him?
“Italy still has a long way to go, therefore the Third Giovi Pass is essential”.
Does the relaunch of Gioia Tauro run the risk to be frustrated by the low productivity and absenteeism of its workers?
“There are no problems with workers. They are happy that we manage the port of Gioia Tauro, and we expect a great contribution from them. We are making significant investments, and we are sure about their positive response. We will definitely turn Gioia Tauro into the first Mediterranean terminal”.
Only in terms of transhipment traffic, or also as a gateway port?
“If we manage to create a connection between Gioia Tauro and Northern Italy, and also with Europe, it might even become a gateway port”.
Is your new transport and logistics company Medlog ready to start in Italy?
“We are trying to develop all the land aspects, as far as it is strategic for us. We cannot carry out a progressive vertical integration of land services worldwide. We will carry it out gradually with Medlog, but definitely do not aim at dealing with both the land and sea aspects. We will carry out the land part only where we believe that it is strategic, necessary and convenient for us, but it cannot be done worldwide”.
Is it possible that at the La Spezia Container Terminal, where you are partners with Contship Italia (holding 60% of it), there will be a conflict as in Gioia Tauro?
“In La Spezia we are passive shareholders. They manage the terminal, and we ensure volumes, and things are ok”.
As regards ferries, are you getting ready for the tender for the renewal of the public agreement for territorial continuity with islands?
What do you have in mind?
“We do not have any plan; let’s see what they propose”.
With regard to the ferries ordered to the Chinese shipyard GSI, have you changed your plans?
“Our plans are always the same, but prices changed. We are discussing about it”.
As concerns the market consolidation between global container carriers, should we expect additional mergers and acquisitions?
“Very few. I expect only a partnership between ONE and Hapag Lloyd”.
Are you concerned about Amazon’s role in transports and logistics?
Are you still strict about China’s role in the world’s markets?
“Yes, I am. We still have not understood that it is China that needs us, not we who need China. We are China’s customers. We export very little to China, and the exported goods are of no value, while they export finished products. Europe is an important customer for China, like the U.S.”
Do you fear that China might take over?
“We are masters of Italy and Europe. China will definitely not take over. We must join Trump and the U.S., not China. I believe that the future problem for Europe will be becoming a federation. Until we do not become one, we will not play a vital role in the global market. Therefore, we must hope that the new president of the European Community aims at creating a federation. This is essential because if we do not become a federation, we will not have any geopolitical power”.