Already registered? Download PDF LOGIN or SIGN UP
Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
30/09/19 12:30

Genoa VTE and SECH terminals might become partners

Rumours about the strengthening of relations between the two Genoese terminal operators in order to confront Maersk and MSC and their new competitors Vado and Bettolo are increasing

According to rumours, the rationalization of services between the two container terminals of Genoa, VTE and SECH, will result in a partnership for which the mutual participations of the two shareholders are no longer sufficient (Singaporean PSA holds 60% of Sinport’s shares, of which VTE is a wholly-owned subsidiary, and 40% of the shares of SEBER, of which SECH is a wholly-owned subsidiary.

The GIP group – of which the Infravia and Infracapital funds hold 95% of shares while the remaining 5% is held by Giulio Schenone’s holding – holds 60% of SEBER’s shares, and 40% of Sinport’s shares).

In fact, according to Ship2Shore, the Asian group will probably take-over also the SECH terminal, though with Schenone’s involvement. However, the latter denied it, while the VTE terminal did not make any comment.

This scenario is based on several factors: first of all the possibility that SECH will lose its two main services soon. In fact, being the only service which Maersk operates in Genoa not in partnership with other liners, the ME2 will probably be transferred to Vado Ligure as soon as the platform managed by the Danish group enters into operations.

Moreover, it is very likely that The Alliance’s MD1 service will be transferred to VTE since the three companies (Hapag-Lloyd, ONE and Yang Ming) decided to replace the vessels used until May with units with a capacity ranging from 13,400 and 14,200 TEUs.

For the SECH terminal, which closed the past two financial years recording losses despite the increase in handled volumes (-0.56 million euro in 2017, when TEUs increased by 5% achieving 309,000 TEUs; -0.83 million euro in 2018, with 314,000 TEUs handled), this might imply – besides the third financial year in red (in July traffics recorded a 2.5% increase compared to the first 7 months of 2018) – even greater difficulties in 2020, when the adjacent MSC’s new Calata Bettolo terminal is expected to enter into operation.

With the Bettolo Terminal, Gianluigi Aponte’s group – already active in Genoa in the TFGE (of which Spinelli holds the majority share) and IMT-Messina terminals (this transaction is currently being defined) - will increase its influence in Genoa significantly. The rationalization of connections which, also in MD1’s case and due to the increase in the volume of services transferred to VTE, might cause SECH to attract other services which, in light of their size, might be better served by the latter, may no longer be enough for the two terminal operators.

A joint management would definitely ensure greater flexibility to both terminals. SECH would not become the weakest terminal, while VTE would avoid any possible reunification between its counterpart and MSC, which – as the initial business plan and the related co-partnership provided for before their divorce – was planning to create a single infrastructure including Calata Bettolo and SECH.