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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
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16/04/18 10:39

The port of the future for Short Sea Shipping discussed at Civitavecchia

The BCLink project to upgrade quays along the route operated by Grimaldi's ferries and connecting the Italian port with Barcelona was disclosed during the second international meeting concerning the Motorways of the Sea

The new BCLink project to upgrade quays in the ports of Civitavecchia and Barcelona within the Motorway of the Sea service, implemented by the Naples-based shipping company Grimaldi since 15 years, was illustrated in Civitavecchia.

The main features of the new piers and the technical and financial methods to be adopted were disclosed during the meeting “Shaping the port of the future” held at the conference room of Civitavecchia Port Authority within a series of events organized by the newspaper The MediTelegraph in cooperation with institutional players and private operators.

The European project, carried out in partnership with On the MoS Way, focused on the “Port of the future” as a key factor for European economy within global commerce and internal market, both as regards freight and passengers flows. As ports are closely related to regional development, their expansion has a positive impact on the surrounding society and environment.

The conference focused on the factors that contribute to the creation of an ideal port, considering the mutual relations between ports, the relation with the environment and the society within an “integrated ans sustainable” logistics chain facing specific challenges in a highly competitive context which demands cooperation also among rivalling infrastructures.

“This is the third international conference held in Civitavecchia in a few months”, Central and Northern Tyrrhenian Sea Port Authority President Francesco Maria di Majo pointed out during his welcome speech. “The Motorways of the Sea represent 28% of our traffics, amounting to 1.9 million passengers and 200,000 heavy vehicles per year. The importance of this project is shown by the significant funds granted by European institutions within the CEF Connecting Europe Facility “Blending Call” 2017, as well as by loans from banks, including the EIB, at favourable rates. This new Lazio-Catalonia alliance will imply also simplified customs procedures”, di Majo concluded. The latter invited also his colleague from the Marche-Abruzzo Port Authority Rodolfo Giampieri, with whom a strategic memorandum of understanding was recently signed. Meanwhile, Rome Port Authority International Relation officer Luca Lupi illustrated the development project approved by the European Commission, which granted over 2 million euro to each port to finance a project amounting to 21.5 million euro (two thirds of which to be borne by the Spanish partner).

“The core trunk of the Multimodal Corridor we are focusing on is the maritime route Barcelona-Civitavecchia, followed by the road route connecting Thyrrenian and Adriatic sea, where freight is loaded in Ancona heading to Croatia (port of Split) or Montenegro (Ploče), from whence it is sent also to Eastern Europe. Alternatively, it reaches the port of Ortona (Abruzzo) to be shipped to Greece (Igoumenitsa)”.

As concerns Italy, the first phase of the project provides for the construction of a 240x150 meters pier (Pier n. II), to be completed by June 2020.

“We will carry out a significant port expansion at sea”, Lupi explained.

The port of Rome is undergoing also a rationalization of spaces implying a change in the end-use of some areas, such as the project related to the aquarium to be built on the quay previously used for grain silos, or to the completion of Darsena Grandi Masse dock.

The most important project concerns the new cruise maxi-terminal managed by RCT Roma Cruise Terminal (the joint venture including Royal Caribbean, Costa and MSC), one of the largest in Europe, which should be opened on May the 18th. Moreover, the container terminal RTC will recover some functional areas for its unitized business.

As regards Catalonia, Port of Barcelona Head of Strategic Projects and Innovation Charles Rua illustrated the second phase of the Italian-Spanish project: “We will work on the Contradique Nord Pier, close to Costa Wharf – where Grimaldi's Motorways of the Sea terminal was opened three years ago, ed. - to fit it for SSS Short Sea Shipping, upgrading the quay and building a ramp granting access to ferries. We are also planning to build a car terminal to distribute unloaded vehicles in Europe.

We aim at building a railway line with two new international UIC track gauges as most ro-ro traffic travels by road and railway”, the Catalan officer explained.

This project should start in January 2019 and it should be completed by 2021.

Also Naples-based Grimaldi should benefit from the expansion of the port of Barcelona.

“In 2004, our Managing Director Manuel Grimaldi inspired us to launch our three-weekly connection with a small vessel, to which we first added another ship and then, between 2007 and 2008, we added the two large cruise-ferries Cruise Roma and Cruise Barcelona. From 2019, we plan to lengthen these two ships to obtain a 20% load capacity increase (equal to a 30 meters section). As a matter of fact, the two vessels jumboised by Fincantieri will need a larger pier”, Grimaldi manager Paul Kyprianou concluded.

Angelo Scorza

The Adriatic response in the MoS field starts from Venice and gets to Koper

Civitavecchia – The international meeting held in Civitavecchia and chaired by Alexio Picco (Circle) was attended by many operators and speakers who did not focus only on the Lazio-Catalonia corridor, but also on other issues. Among the participants there were representatives of the ports of Venice, Ancona, Koper (Slovenia), Trelleborg (Sweden), top officials of trade associations MedCruise, ESPO, ALIS, Assarmatori, Angopi, RETE and Civitas Portis, as well as European Commission representatives (DG Move) and consulting companies such as Risposte Turismo, IB (RINA), Circle, DBA, PwC and Lloyd’s Register (some of which were also among the main sponsors of the event).

The first speech was delivered by Motorways of the Sea Corridor Coordinator Brian Simpson, who was definitely more exhaustive than its Polish Adviser Wojciech Sopinski as the latter focused only on the importance of the maritime leg in multimodal corridors.

“Italy is one of the most involved countries in MoS projects, and I commend Barcelona and Civitavecchia for the funding obtained by the EU. I represent the maritime sector within the intermodal chain, which plays a significant role as 40% of domestic trade and 75% of extra-EU trade is carried out by ship, and there are 800 regular ferry connections calling at 200 EU ports, 79 of which are mainstays of one TEN-T corridor. The entire MoS business is worth two thirds of the European port traffic”, the British official observed.

Referring to the forthcoming TEN T Days in Ljubljana at the end of April, Simpson explained that “the cooperation of all the stakeholders is essential. Italy plays a crucial role not only in the Mediterranean, but also in the Black Sea and in the Atlantic, therefore we need your support to emphasize the MoS' importance in the TEN T network. We will provide all the necessary figures in order for the Motorways of the Sea to receive the resources they deserve. We must make clear that the maritime route is a top priority for the European Union”.

In the same day in which the decree that could settle the long-standing issue related to large cruise ships in Venice, Northern Adriatic Sea Port Authority President Pino Musolino expounded the case study of the port of Venice related to the ro-ro sector.

“4 regular services (Anek, Grimaldi, Minoan and Neptune) call at the MoS terminal of Fusina – which was completed in 2014 with a 200 million euro investment to reduce congestion due to ro-ro traffic in the historical port – from whence an intermodal railway service to Frankfurt is provided, that is going to be supplemented soon with another service to Verona, heading also to Duisburg and Rostock”.

During its 2017-2020 phase, with Grimaldi's and Kombiverkehr's support, the project AdriaMoS provides for a functional connection between the Patras-Venice line, the BAC Corridor and the MED Corridor.

“Our new commitment on the Adriatic-Ionic Corridor translates into the Eusair project, implying a memorandum of understanding with the ports of the Black Sea to reach the Adrieta Corridor”, Musolino concluded.

Meanwhile, in the Slovene port of Koper, Luka Koper is implementing a new ro-ro terminal to be completed within 2019 in order to move the car terminal to Dock III and reduce congestion in the town centre.

In Koper they are also focusing on railways because 60% of the unloaded cars – mainly transported by the Greek company Neptune Lines – is going to be transported by railway, on 4 tracks over 750 meters long.

The meeting held in Civitavecchia was attended also by the Dutch manager Tony Bestenbreur who worked in Trieste for the terminal operator ECT, that in 1998 was granted the concession for the Trieste container terminal but had to face the dock workers' opposition only because the Rotterdam-based company planned to recover efficiency and productivity.

The dock workers' challenge climaxed with the rudimentary explosive device detonated inside ECT's building, causing the company to leave Trieste.

Angelo Scorza 

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