Costa-MSC partnership to manage cruises in Western Sicily
The two companies submitted a joint application to obtain the concession related to piers and to their related services in the port of Palermo, Trapani, Termini Imerese and Porto Empedocle
Costa Crociere and MSC Crociere believe Western Sicily still has “significant tourist development margins for the cruise sector”.
For this reason, the two main companies within the sector applied to Western Sicilian Sea Port Authority to be granted a concession to manage cruise peers in the ports of Palermo, Trapani, Termini Imerese and Porto Empedocle, with their related services to passengers.
The application published on August the 12th in the website of the body headed by Pasqualino Monti explains that Costa Crociere and MSC aim at doubling cruise traffics in the ports in question on a medium term basis. The document does not specify figures, neither the duration of the concession applied for. In fact, all these data are described in the annexes to the application.
In any case, according to the applicants, passengers can be double only through “an integrated management of Western Sicilian ports, by creating a ‘system’ in the tourist offer”.
For this reason, the two companies “believe that, in order to implement the integrated project, it is essential that they are granted a concession” for the areas and the assets object of the application, i.e. Crispi quay, Vittorio Veneto, Piave and Sammuzzo piers, adjacent areas and relevant assets in the port of Palermo; Garibaldi quay, adjacent areas and relevant assets in Trapani; Vaniero quay, adjacent areas and relevant assets in Termini Imerese, and Todaro quay, with adjacent areas and relevant assets in Porto Empedocle. As concerns the latter two ports, “in order not to jeopardize the performance and expansion of the additional and diverse activities already carried out in said areas, the application for concession implies a non-exclusive use”.
If they are granted the concession – which will imply also the management of cruise flows and of their related services (reception, safety and security, luggage, catering, parking etc…) – Costa and MSC will incorporate a special purpose entity, on an equal-share basis, whose corporate purpose will be the management of the activities related to the concession.
Since the business plan attached was not published in the Port Authority’s website, it is not clear whether the companies’ project provides also for investments related to the development of terminal infrastructures, such as a new marine terminal on Sammuzzo pier in Palermo, as Port Authority president Pasqualino Monti had anticipated last year.