This was the topic discussed at Seatec in the presence of the main players in the port-logistics supply chain of the Northern Tyrrhenian Sea. Port facilities, logistics, intermodal centres. In closing, the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Edoardo Rixi emphasised: rail and road transport are complementary, it is necessary to create a system with all players involved. Logistics is essential for the development of the country. Pleasure boating needs the right guarantee of stability and landing points suited to the centrality of the Mediterranean.

At Seatec 2019, there was a discussion on the sea economy extended to professional ports and the complex relationships that link ports to each other in a wide-ranging transport system with the conference “The Logistics/Port Supply Chain – Port Facilities and Logistics as success factors for the development of the country”, organised by IGB Srl in collaboration with IMM_CarrararaFiere.

Following the greetings by the IMM_CarraraFiere Chairman Fabio Felici and the Councillor for Productive Activities of Carrara Andrea Raggi, a number of sea economy professionals took the floor during the morning.

Taking part in the conference were Carla Roncallo, President of ADSP ML Orientale/Assoporti - Antonella Querci, Director of Development, European Programmes and Innovation ASDP MT Settentrionale, Andrea Gentile, President of Assologistica, Admiral Giuseppe Tarzia, Maritime Director and Commander of the Livorno Port Authority, Giancarlo Laguzzi, President of Fercargo, Nereo Marcucci, President of Confetra, Gian Enzo Duci, President of Federagenti Marittimo, Daniele Testi, Marketing Director of Contship, Olimpia Ferrara, SRM, Head of Maritime Team, Iames Pigani of Gavio Group, Marco Toccafondi, Manager of RFI. Lorenzo Forcieri, President of the Ligurian Marine Technology District, moderated the round table.

Lorenzo Forcieri introduced the conference, emphasising how despite all the discussion on the issue and the expectations over the past three years, the much-awaited recovery has not taken place in relation to the new legislation. Ports and logistics are factors of success for the country, but a general recovery of the system's operation is needed, one driven not by politics but by choices made by the market. For Forcieri, the Government must limit itself to assigning funds and subsequently allow the recipients of the investments to be autonomous. Almost three years after the Delrio reform, it is necessary to look again at the political decisions to evaluate the results obtained compared to the objectives set.

Carla Roncallo, President of the Port System Authority of the Eastern Ligurian Sea, who also spoke representing Assoporti, highlighted how Assoporti has played an important coordination role in the last 3 years on various issues. In partial disagreement with Forcieri, he then expressed his vision and experience regarding the effects of the Delrio reform on the ports of La Spezia and Marina di Carrara, which have grown thanks to the positive synergy created and thanks to the fact that they handle different products, which are therefore complementary. "I support this reform - Roncallo explained - whose effectiveness is given by the numbers: in 2018, the port of La Spezia recorded a consolidation in container traffic with a total of 1.485.623 TEU (+ 0,8% - a TEU is a unit equivalent to a 20-foot container - The port of Marina di Carrara has actually gone from 1.400.000 tons of goods handled in 2015 to finish last year with an overall increase in quay freight traffic of 9.5% % equal to 2.496.000 tons handled, and with a forecast for 2019 to reach 3 million, which means an increase of 115% in 4 years.

The excellent performance coincided with an increase in the number of port operators, which has gone from one to three after a somewhat controversial activity undertaken with regard to the existing concession, introducing tenders and thus allowing entry to two new entities. In short, it shows that competition is positive. The other aspect on which we are working is the financing project in the cruise sector in order to invest 41 million euros in new infrastructures destined for cruise passengers, another strong growth sector that will have important repercussions on the local economy. We have introduced a clause so that investments will also be made in Marina di Carrara, with the construction of a small terminal and indicating a minimum number of passengers to carry. The waterfront project has also begun, which we hope to conclude soon with tenders, thanks to the 20 million euros granted by the Tuscany Region and the additional 8 million and 800.000 by the Ministry of Infrastructure for the first 3 lots."

Roncallo's contribution was followed by the Maritime Director and Commander of the Livorno Port Authority, Admiral Giuseppe Tarzia and Antonella Querci, who pointed out the need to deal with the rapid technological changes regarding infrastructures because technological development changes the port functions.

The discussion continued with the presentation of various analyses by the various players in the aforementioned sector, with a focus on the need to improve the railway network and to create a dialogue between ports and logistics, because in Italy only the ports of La Spezia and Trieste are equipped with suitable railway infrastructures, on the need to increase railway goods volumes, also by strengthening coordination between European networks and reshaping "naval gigantism" through the construction of new sea beds and increasing the storage capacity for goods. Among the many topics also dealt with was the delicate relationship with China, which is showing great interest in our port infrastructures and it is important to request reciprocity.

Edoardo Rixi, Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, concluded the session, bringing the government's standpoint to the complex relationship of Italian port facilities of the Northern Tyrrhenian Sea, regarding both present and future trade flows and competition with other Mediterranean ports and the infrastructures necessary to keep the competitiveness of national ports strong. The Deputy Minister pointed out the need to hold clear, open discussions with all the interested parties and to make a Country system in order to overcome the difficulties of managing an important reform of the past legislature, highlighting how road transport cannot be considered in competition with the railways or waterways, which on the contrary must work in synergy to make us competitive internationally.

Deputy Minister Rixi stated: "By analysing the intermodal system, we can see significant differences between the Northern Adriatic Sea and the Northern Tyrrhenian Sea caused by the presence or absence of adequate railway structures and the need to resolve important structural issues such as the 3rd pass and others. Railways and roads must be complementary and new market shares must be regained to achieve the volumes that Italian ports have the capacity to deal with. Our economy is very much based on exports and we must remember that today most goods travel in TEUs, with duties ending up in the port where the goods are unloaded, so Germany or Holland collect revenues that should end up in the coffers of our state. The strategic plan is to work together to bring the country back to its central position, using a new railway plan that also includes a high-speed project for small parcels (think of Amazon and e-commerce) before other operators come to manage it on our national territory. The other issue is the strengthening of the TEN-T networks (Trans European Network-Transport) since in Italy we do not have an efficient TEN-T network. The TEN-T corridors must be developed on several lines to prevent any problem on the line from causing an interruption of the system, with the serious economic damages that fall on operators and companies, who must be guaranteed. Goods traffic to and from China passes through Germany because on a European level the tracks are almost exclusively managed by German operators, so it is very important to develop our networks not only with regard to China, but also the African continent, shamefully ignored by Europe, but for us very important both for our goods and for our companies.

Today we have to negotiate with Chinese companies and set out the rules. In the last 7 years, the Chinese have bought many infrastructures including ports. It may be good to give a sign of openness, but with the application of certain rules on the national territory. This must be done with the institutions because private concerns, if they are in difficulty, can only sell. We must stop Italy from being excluded from the Chinese and African markets because our companies export 67% to the European community, yet the figures for Germany over the next two years are negative. We will not be able to increase market shares on mature markets, so we must turn to developing markets, otherwise our industrial system is destined to decrease its production.

We are working on unblocking construction sites and on the growth decree to revitalise the home market, but it will not be enough, we must allow our businesses to grow and take them abroad to gain market shares. We are working on various regulations, including those in the procurement code, to reduce completion times for works and achieve, by simplifying bureaucratic issues, certain timeframes.

The Mediterranean is resuming its central position and the future of the country will be played on the sea, we must have the ability to create a system for the logistics and shipbuilding sector. Pleasure boating is growing in double digits but must have guarantees of stability and the right landing points, as well as suitable tax regulations.
It is very important to connect the sectors concerned, including the cruise sector, given that in coming years we will have 100 new cruise ships that today our ports of call are often not able to accommodate, we must resolve the critical issues by working together. The logistic system is not only the movement of goods, it also concerns the training of operators, the renewal of vehicles, motorway pricing, we must think about how to avoid dumping with foreign companies.

In all this, the comparison between railways and roads does not work, as it does not work with the motorways of the sea, which must instead become competitive compared to motorways. By finding the right balance between the various forces involved, Italy can win this challenge, we can transform our infrastructural delay into a competitive advantage, because today we have the possibility of creating the infrastructures that we lack with a vision aimed at 2030 or 2040, modernising the infrastructure system and demonstrating, once again, the all-Italian ability to give our best when we find ourselves in dire straits.

Logistics is efficiency in the transport of goods and people. If transport works, the country moves, but competition must be achieved at the country system level and not at an individual company level. Individual companies instead must form a network to win the current challenge. It is necessary to find clear intentions to focus on, because logistics is at the basis of the development of the country from every point of view, and if things work, even young people can hope to stay in Italy and have a better future."