Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Italian ports open new maritime routes

Written by Ariel F.Dumont, Roma on Friday, May 23rd 2014 à 16:40 | Read 855 times



Italian ports are attempting to thwart the crisis hitting the sector with full force by opening new maritime routes, notably to North Africa. Now is the time for partnerships, especially with Algeria.

Genoa is a key player in the Ro-Ro traffic between Italy and the Maghreb (photo F.Dubessy)
Genoa is a key player in the Ro-Ro traffic between Italy and the Maghreb (photo F.Dubessy)
ITALY. Despite the crisis currently hitting the Italian port sector with full force and the endless discussions between the government and the sector’s operators on the urgent need for reform of the port authority system towards more competitiveness, the ports are showing signs of dynamism.

One example is the port of Cagliari in Sardinia which has planned to open a number of new maritime routes to North Africa. Another example is the launch of the new service between the ports of Genoa in Italy and Mostaganem in Algeria. A final example is the new service between Trieste and, again, North Africa, which is both an attractive and key market for the peninsula.

All of these operations are part of the strategy put in place by Assoporti. The Italian Ports Association believes that the Mediterranean area is essential for the development of new markets and traffic. Especially as it should allow Italy to retain, for the long term, its position as leader in the transport of goods by short sea shipping. The latest annual figures show that the country transported 223.2 million tonnes or 39.2% of the total European traffic.

As regards Cagliari, a meeting took place in Algiers at the beginning of March 2014 between the management of the Sardinian port authority, supported by representatives of the Italy-Algeria Association. The common aim, revealed the Sardinian port authority, is to develop the trade relations between the Italian island and Algeria, which currently receive minimal attention, by focusing for example on the transport of South American meat from Montevideo in Uruguay and Bahía Blanca in Argentina.

A new route between Genoa and Al Khoms

Another joint project being explored by these two countries is the export of Sardinian products to Algeria. Lastly, there is tourism. Having seen its tourism decline over the past two years due to fare increases arising from the cartel formed by the shipping lines, Sardinia wants to persuade Algerians to come and stroll along its beaches.

In Liguria, again at the beginning of March 2014, the Tunisian Shipping Company (CTN) inaugurated a new route between Genoa and the Libyan port of Al Khoms, with a call at the port of Rades in Tunisia. The service which involves the transport of containers and bulk goods operates two times per week. In fact, there is further new activity in Genoa where, in parallel, the Italian arm of Nisa Maritima, the shipping division of Grupo Alonso, the Spanish logistics and transport player, has just launched a new Ro-Ro service to the Algerian port of Mostaganem, located next to the city of Oran.

The Italian operator Master Projects & Logistics, specialised in the maritime transport of cargo, bulk goods and rolling stock, will manage operations. The Ro-Ro vessel “Niolon” will be used on this route, sailing every ten days, and the service is due to begin on the 10th May 2014. Lastly, on the Adriatic coast, the operator Med Cross Lines has doubled the number of services it operates to North Africa by putting a second Ro-Ro vessel into service, the Baltic Excellent, which already covers Libya.

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