Aponte investing more in Genoa
The world's second shipowner signed the concession for Calata Bettolo, while Vago presented the new mega cruiseship MSC Seaview, thus confirming the company's deep roots in Genoa. However, Consorzio Bettolo will start handling containers only in 2022, while Schenone was granted an extension of the concession for SECH until 2045. VIP institutions on the dream ship; MSC and governors rejoiced about the recovery
Genoa – Port Authority President Paolo Emilio Signorini finally granted the over thirty year concession of Calata Bettolo to Aponte & C. (Scenone and Group).
Liguria Governor Giovanni Toti and Genoa's Mayor Marco Bucci attended the ceremony at Ponte dei Mille to celebrate two important events in shipping and ports: the main one related to MSC Seaview, the new mega cruiseship designed according to a Made in Italy style, with impressive tonnage and figures.
In parallel there was the less mediatic event, although more strategically decisive for Genoa, related to the concession granted to Diego Aponte and Franco Zuccarino (MSC Cargo) and Giulo Schenone (GIP Gruppo Investimenti Portuali) by Western Ligurian Port Authority President Paolo Emilio Signorini.
According to the Liguria Region and the Municipality of Genoa, a failure to use the area on which a lot of public money was invested “would have caused huge damages to the prospects of development of the port of Genoa”, the two local institutions explained.
As a matter of fact, to build the new Calata Bettolo, the Port Authority of Genoa had already invested 213 million euro (with another 35 in the budget), while 136 million will be granted by the concessionaire terminal operator.
However, unlike what some sources reported, there have never been huge contrasts, rather two different views: on the one hand, MSC wanted to invest in the terminal, although its corporate Business Plan is not that profitable, while on the other some cautious shareholders such as international funds need more guarantees as to the return on the investment.
The documents signed at the Port Authority President office are two: the first one is related to the new concession to Consorzio Bettolo – MSC 65% subsidiary and GIP 35% affiliate through the Infravia and Infracapital funds. The operating companies are Itaterminaux Sàrl (MSC) and Seber Srl (GIP), for a new terminal fitted out with further public-private investments which will increase port system capacity significantly.
“The new terminal will be equipped with highly technological units to host mega ships”, the Port Authority explained in a note. “After over fifteen years, the granting of the concession to Consorzio Bettolo is definitely a welcome news for the whole port of Genoa”, President Signorini observed. “The new terminal has a capacity of 800,000 TEUs. Our objective for the next years is achieving 500-600,000 TEUs. The terminal will be able to host larger container ships also in connection with the works on the new breakwater, managed by two very skilled partners: the world's second shipowner and American, French and British funds providing all the necessary technological skills and know-how for the harmonization of the terminal. Moreover, we planned investments for road railway accessibility in order not to affect the urban road network. In the next two years we will work hard to start operations”.
The second document signed is related to the extension for an already operating terminal which must renew its units to host large vessels.
“I am happy to sign the extension of the concession until 2045. 25 years have passed, and we still have another 25 years ahead of us”, Signorini continued. “SECH is an essential terminal operator for the port of Genoa, with over 335,000 TEUs handled in the past year, a very significant business plan for over 120 million euro for the next years and positive effects on employment already in the first phase with new recruitments. Together with other measures that we are taking for our port system, this achievement confirms that the port is healthy and that reliable and new operators chose our ports, creating dynamism and hopes for the future”.
The complex including Calata Sanità (SECH) and Calata Bettolo (Consorzio Bettolo) will be able to handle 900,000 TEUs thanks to synergies such as those related to the management of railway yards.
The provisional info issued by the two concessionaires include the date for the start of operations, postponed to 2022: “the terminal will have an initial capacity of 720,000 TEUs and it will be equipped with 6 quay cranes for container ships with a capacity of over 20,000 TEUs. The terminal is expected to start its operations in 2022, serving both MSC vessels and Seber's customers”.
“The agreement signed is very important for the Ligurian port system and it was reached through the precious cooperation of local institutions. We look forward to having an operating terminal. In the first quarter of 2018 we recorded a 10% growth, and volumes will not be lacking”, MSC Group Chairman and CEO Diego Aponte declared after signing.
“The development of Bettolo will ensure berthing to large container ships in Genoa, being complementary with our activity in the adjoining SECH terminal”, Gruppo Investimenti Portuali Spa CEO Giulio Schenone commented briefly.
“This is an historic day. It not mean that the Bettolo terminal will start handling containers straight away, but this is the first step towards the future”, Liguria Region President Giovanni Toti exulted.