The port of this month is the Port Network of Rome and Lazio. The ports in this network, all situated in the very heart of Italy, have a rich history of maritime activity, some of them even going back to Roman times! Off course, since then a lot has changed since then. The Port Network of Rome and Lazio has become a large player in the region, especially when it comes to cruise and ferry!
ESPO: Can you briefly tell us about the Port Network of Rome and Lazio? What are its main characteristics and challenges?
Port: The Port Network of Rome and Lazio consists of Civitavecchia, Fiumicino and Gaeta, and is the foundation stone for building a “Logistics Hub in Lazio”. The network aims at nationalising the resources of the individual ports and promoting maritime transport and traffic growth by broadening existing services and creating specialisations for each port. The system’s logic allows national and international clients to benefit from multiple opportunities in a variety of different sectors, including: passenger traffic, cruises, short sea, trading of goods of all kinds (including solid and liquid bulk goods to cars), agri-food shipments and containers.
ESPO: The Port Network of Rome and Lazio is very well known for its cruise and ferry business. Off course, this is not the only activity in your port. How is business going in your port? Do you foresee a bright future for your port?
Port:The growth in shipping traffic, port structures, related economic activities and the strengthening of overall port operations, implemented under unfavourable economic conditions, today places the Port Network of Rome and Lazio today in a state of efficiency that allows the cluster to consolidate its position on a Mediterranean, European and global scale.
This is shown by our role of leading Mediterranean port, which is highly consolidated in the cruise ship sector (with over 2,500,000 transits annually and daily peaks of over 45,000 passengers/tourists managed). Furthermore, our leading role will be strengthened by the very recent start-up of strategic traffic for Italy’s manufacturing industry, as in the case of F.C.A. (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) production, which from the automotive plant in Melfi will reach the North American market from the automotive plant in Melfi. This will enable, for the first time ever, a direct line from the port of Civitavecchia to the ports of Halifax and Baltimore, enabling the production of American cars in Italy, which will be exported to 100 different countries around the world by the largest Italian ship owner, the Ro Ro Grimaldi Group.
ESPO: How would you describe the added value of the port to the city and the region?
Port: Being the largest cruise port in the Mediterranean Sea, the port brings added value to the city, region and the entire country. The amount of people working in the cruise business on the shore side is huge and can certainly be compared with an industry of considerable size. It is one of the few industries that during tough economic times did not suffer from recession at all!
ESPO: In 2003, the Port Authority of Civitavecchia together with the port authorities of Fiumicino and Gaeta decided to cooperate under the form of a regional network. Could you briefly describe this cooperation and elaborate on the benefits it had for your port?
Port: The ports of Rome and Lazio are centrally located in Italy, in the second largest Italian trading area and fifth largest European trading area. The network is a benchmark for other regions and their markets, such as Campania, Umbria, Tuscany and the Marches, providing access to Italy’s premier tourist areas and the most fascinating Mediterranean cruise routes.
From an operational point of view, the Pport of Fiumicino confirms its important role as a centre for the handling of petroleum products (with an annual average of over 5.5 million tonnes of mineral oil, crude and refined products, being landed and boarded). While waiting for the construction of the new commercial port and the return of passenger traffic, port operations in Fiumicino are currently entirely focused on liquid bulk, and in particular on refined oil products for the nearby airport. Overall, traffic at Fiumicino amounts to over 2.5 million tonnes a year.
The work already implemented and currently under way has already allowed the Pport of Gaeta to strengthen its role within the Network of the Ports of Rome and Lazio, as a maritime gateway for the areas of southern Lazio and northern Campania. The port offers Tto the important industrial districts in the provinces of Latina, Frosinone (with Casino) and Caserta, the port offers the ability to relate directly with shipping lines for their economic activities.
ESPO: The Port of Civitavecchia is also handling containers and bulk goods. How is this business evolving? Do you foresee a bright future for the container and bulk goods business?
Port: The evolution of container traffic in the Mediterranean offered to the port authority the opportunity to reflect on its Master Plan. The expected growth of container traffic, which nowadays is transported by ships of up to 360 m, a draft of 16.5 m or more and able to carry 18,000 TEU, requires the adaptation of port facilities. Currently, the Pport of Civitavecchia is the only port on the eastern flank of the Western Mediterranean that can satisfy these demands on the eastern flank of the Western Mediterranean. An operational adaptation to the Port Master Plan was thus prepared and submitted for approval to the relevant bodies., and fFurther development projects are under way with a private partner (a leading global logistics group), in order to include in the Master Plan the priority projects to be supported by the European Commission (Juncker Plan). The total cost of the work is expected to amount be 524 million euro, of which about 320 million euro will be provided by private business companies.
ESPO: Could you briefly describe the main investment projects in your port for the upcoming years?
Port: We are investing in a new container terminal in order to cope with the expected growth of container traffic and the relative increase of the size of the ships. The value of this project is 524 million euros. We are also investing in a new cruise terminal. The completion of the private investment plan will amount to 40 million euros over the next three years, and over 40 million euros with the delivery to the terminal of the new moorings in the northern area of the port.
ESPO: What are the main areas of competition that you face from competing EU ports?
Port: Container traffic and general cargo are the main areas of competition that our port is facing from competing EU ports. These ports are especially situated in the Northern Range.
ESPO: The Port of Civitavecchia is a first mover in Italy when it comes to LNG bunkering. What was the driving force to start with LNG bunkering? How do you assess the potential of this business for your port?
Port: We consider that this technology constitutes at the moment as the best way to improve air quality in the port and in the area adjacent to the port. We do not consider it as a business but more as a service to provide to vessels calling Civitavecchia. Nevertheless, we consider LNG as the fuel of the next future, and we think that in the near future it will replace residual oil (RO) and marine gas oil (MGO).
ESPO: Can you give an example of one of your projects in the field of sustainable development?
Port: In Civitavecchia we are designing turbines (aeronautic and hydraulic) to convert waves into electric energy following our idea to make the port area energetically independent.
ESPO: ESPO is a partner of PORTOPIA an FP7 project that aims to measure port performance. What is Civitavecchia's approach for measuring the port’s performance?
Port: The Port of Civitavecchia measures its performance through the detection of data traffic and data related to the size of the port.