Conte declared to Confitarma: “We will ensure the competitiveness of the Italian fleet”
The Prime Minister reassured shipowners, while Mattioli emphasized the need for a government fund investing in the sector
Rome – The presence of Italian Prime Minister to Confitarma’s annual meeting proved the Government’s concern for the Italian shipping sector, as confirmed also by the about-face on the reduction of benefits related to the International Registry and to the Tonnage Tax (which was provided for by the Economic planning but was not included in the Budgetary Decree Law).
“We are very happy about the Government’s decision”, Confitarma President Mario Mattioli declared during the meeting.
“In fact, refinancing the Marebonus incentive, which is regarded as an essential instrument to reduce the environmental impact of freight transport through the motorways of the sea, and in the meantime including reliefs to shipowners in the list of the Environmentally Damaging Reliefs would not make sense”.
The Marebonus incentive, which at present is financed only at the end of the current year, was one of the issues suggested by shipowners about which, during the Confederation’s meeting, Minister of Infrastructures and Transports Paola De Micheli provided a reply: “the Marebonus incentive must be granted, together with the Ferrobonus incentive. Intermodalism is essential to protect the environment, but it is also a question of competitiveness of the entire Italian economic system”.
As concerns the convention for territorial continuity (the current agreement with Tirrenia will expire in July 2020) Confitarma President Mattioli declared: “we believe that keeping the current system of public services agreements, providing for 200 million euro contributions per year and including also regional ones, is incompatible with the maritime cabotage competition and liberalization principles established by the European legislator”. On her part, the Minister did not provide answers, but the president of the Confederation hopes that De Micheli will answer soon.
In fact, Italian Prime Minister Conte confirmed that his executive is determined to keep the current system supporting shipping: “Italy is a shipping country; therefore we must make sure that our fleet can compete with the global scenario, following the path set out by the European Union. Shipping is an international industry, and we must provide the sector’s companies with equal opportunities compared to their fierce competitors”.
Referring to Mattioli’s suggestion about the “need for a confrontation with the Government concerning a public intervention in order to avoid the delocalization, or even the shutting down, of historical companies within the sector”, Conte assured that he is determine to “prevent and oppose the delocalization risk for Italian companies”, including shipping ones.
Mattioli detailed his suggestion about the crisis management table, which was accepted by De Micheli, who involved also Minister of Economic Development Stefano Patuanelli, wishing for a wider intervention of the Italian Government to support the sector.
“Shipping is no longer 'appealing' to banks, while funds are very interested in it. Some of them are hedge funds, while others also support companies”. According to Confirtarma President, “if the Government, through Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (Deposits and Loans Fund) or F2I S.p.A., implemented an integration of banks, funds and government infrastructure fund, this would definitely ensure an improvement”.
According to Confitarma President – as already pointed out during the Shipping & the Law meeting held in Naples – this public fund should invest, together with private entities, both in companies facing difficulties and in sound companies, “to achieve technological development. In this respect, we need support in order to reduce our impact. The presence of a guarantee like CdP would also encourage funds, which would be more interested in investing in the shipping sector”.