In this extremely difficult moment, albeit concerned about the US lockdown and the inevitable drop in transport demand along the links between Italy and the two US coasts, Livorno port still finds a couple of reasons to smile.
At the beginning of April, in fact CMA CGM launched a new pendulum service, called Itamar (Italia Maroc Express), which connects Livorno to the port of Tanger Med, one of the main transhipment ports in the Mediterranean.
The launch of the new link which, according to plans, will also call at Genoa, is not the only good piece of news from the French shipping company. Over the past few days, in fact, CMA announced it was transferring its Euronaf Italy service from La Spezia to Livorno.
“This is very good news that we can only be happy about”- says the General Manager of Terminal Darsena Toscana (TDT), Marco Mignogna – our port is demonstrating that it is better than others at coping with the negative effects of the Coronavirus.”
While Italmar is a new service the potential traffic impact of which is not yet known, on Euronaf, which connects Italy to the Algerian ports, Mr Mignogna claims to expect between 200 and 220 more containers for Livorno: “In terms of import we will receive more empty containers on return but we expect to be able to total 70 containers outbound from Livorno to Algeria.”
In short, TDT ‘S General Manager has two good reasons to see the glass half full. However, he does not hide his concern about what is happening in the USA: “I am not saying anything new: the United States is our main trading partner: Covid-19 and the restrictive measures adopted to stem its spread are already provoking a drop in transport demand that will have a negative impact on traffic in the Tuscan port too.”
The next few weeks will be decisive: “We will constantly monitor the situation on a daily basis. We expect an inevitable setback but we won’t lose heart. In these difficult times, our first concern is to help our customers who are suffering from the various lockdowns.”
It is well known that the spread of Covid-19 in Europe is making it particularly difficult to collect cargoes at the various port terminals. Factories are either closed or have recently resumed their activities, and they are having problems picking up their goods that have arrived on the quayside. “During the emergency we will allow our customers to keep their containers in some areas of the terminal for a certain period of time” – concludes Mr. Mignogna – “It is a small gesture but we believe that today everyone must do their part in encouraging a rapid return to normality.”
Translation by Giles Foster