Livorno, Piombino and the other ports under the Port Network Authority’s jurisdiction will soon be able to offer important new job opportunities thanks to developments in digitalization and environmental sustainability.
This is the premise of the study carried out by Bocconi on behalf of the Port Network Authority. It was presented this morning by university lecturer Oliviero Baccelli in Livorno’s Old Fortress’ Ferretti conference hall at an event attended by port operators together with the signatories of the ‘Formare Toscana’ agreement. ‘Formare Toscana’ was launched in 2019 in view of setting up a network of training alliances in Tuscany to promote and supervise ‘sea worker’ training.
The underlying message that Mr. Baccelli conveyed to his audience was that the pandemic crisis and the Russian-Ukrainian conflict have completely redefined global value chains, favouring greater European autonomy in strategic manufacturing sectors. “The new economic dynamics could give the Network ports and, in particular, Livorno, important opportunities for development,” said the analyst, emphasizing how an increasing number of Italian and European companies based abroad are progressively evaluating the reallocation (backshoring) of a portion of their manufacturing activities in areas close to Italy.
In particular, the transfer of textile production from south-east Asian areas could represent an opportunity for Livorno not to be missed: ‘The port’s national leadership in a key sector like Motorways Of the Sea certainly puts the port of Livorno in a strong position,”’ says the university lecturer, adding: ‘The port will have to work hard over the next few years to strengthen its trade relations with Spain, Tunisia, Turkey and Morocco, countries that have clearly been rewarded by the new reshoring logic.
Another important challenge is the environmental sustainability issue. According to the economist, Livorno has what it takes to become a real energy hub. “The Port Network Authority now has a very ambitious Energy and Environmental Planning Document, aimed at promoting the energy efficiency of its infrastructures, the implementation of power generation plants from renewable sources, and the development of hydrogen production and its use,”Mr Baccelli pointed out. “The proximity of OLT(Offshore LNG Toscana) for refuelling vessels running on LNG, the strategic role of the ENI refinery, located in the middle of the port, and the Port Network Authority’s green policies, could put the port in a position to attract new capital and new companies offering low-cost energy.”
Moreover, possible new developments are also opening up in the automotive market. In this case, the specific driver of change for the North Tyrrhenian ports is the planned development of port and rail infrastructures, which, according to the university lecturer, “can strengthen the role of Entrance Gate for the Italian market and Southern Europe”.
The trend towards an increasing percentage of electrified cars will entail the management of a component part, the battery, which will require a specific supply chain. This will be based on complex regulations concerning safety and environmental standards and ad hoc technological needs, such as one-way or two-way recharging infrastructures, in a vehicle-to-grid logic.
According to Mr Baccelli: ‘The transport, packaging, storage, recovery and reuse of automotive batteries could become one of the core businesses for the Port Network and in particular for the Vespucci freight village.”
Attendees included the Port Network Authority’s senior management (president Luciano Guerrieri and managing director Matteo Paroli), the head of Livorno Harbour Authority’s maritime management department, Commander Alessio Loffredo; Massimo Marini and Fulvio Romeo Franchini, representing Confesercenti and Confcommercio; the managing director of the Maremma and Tyrrhenian Chamber of Commerce, Pierluigi Giuntoli; the head of training at Confindustria Livorno Massa Carrara, Lucia Ginocchi; and Livorno Municipality’s head of training, Marco Bennici.
Translation by Giles Foster