Cutting out red tape, digitalizing and investing in infrastructure. According to Giampaolo Botta , General Manager of Spediporto (the Italian freight forwarders association), these are the priorities that the Government has to put in first place when allocating resources from the Recovery Fund.
In a video interview given to Port News – the first of a series of interviews with experts in the port, transport and logistics industry over the next few months – Mr. Botta believes he shares the concerns of those who – from the President of Federlogistica, Luigi Merlo, to the lawyer Maurizio Maresca – have recently expressed strong apprehensions about the risk of misuse of the resources that Brussels intends to allocate to Italy in the Next Generation EU.
“I agree with Mr. Merlo’s observations. It makes sense. So far, we have not been able to come up with either a vision or strategies. How can we imagine that the situation will change when the billions promised by the European Union will come raining down on us? There will probably be a rush by interested parties to present a variety of projects in order to grab something for themselves.”
Mr. Botta takes the President of Federlogistica’s (the Italian logistics federation) observations a step further : “I hope that the EU will observe and control us. We need winning ideas that are feasible and we need capable and competent people who know how to manage the relevant resources with a strategic vision in mind, sustained by the widest possible regional consensus.” In Mr. Botta’s list of priorities there is the need for a “real and not fake, only on paper” de-bureaucratization and a greater push towards digitalization and infrastructure.
During the interview, the General Manager of Spediporto also touched on other issues, dwelling above all on the motorway chaos: “The inconveniences on the Ligurian motorways” – he says – “have penalized and will continue to penalize the whole north west of the country for the next five years. We are facing a national emergency”.
Mr Botta speaks of Liguria as if it were an island: “We are in a region that has never been rewarded by far-sighted choices regarding land and rail infrastructures. Our region is currently even more penalized by the difficult situation the airport is in. Over the next few years, we will have to manage 285 construction sites. It will not be easy even if Ministry for Infrastructure & Transport has promised that it will involve us directly in the planning phases of the interventions, giving us the opportunity to notify and coordinate logistics operators”.
For the manager, the situation in which Italian logistics is currently in is just as complicated: “We are an essential service for the country. Companies have continued to operate during the emergency period relinquishing their profit margins and seeing to a large part of the safety and the transport costs themselves. Most of the sector is really struggling and very concerned about the possibility of the economy not being able to recover in a reasonable time period, to allow them to get back on track.”
Translation by Giles Foster