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We need to be able to use the Genoa model

by Port News Editorial Staff

“The national port industry is going through a “perfect storm”: across-the-board cuts in current spending due to the rules introduced by the Stability Law last December and the COVID-19 emergency that has led to the collapse of the shipping trade in a sudden, dramatic way.”

This marks the beginning of the letter sent to Assoporti (the Italian Port Association) by all sixteen Port Network Authority presidents which Assoporti subsequently forwarded to the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Paola De Micheli.

The presidents believe that the Government should intervene with urgent measures to mitigate the impact that the economic crisis and slump in production resulting from the health emergency will inevitably have on ports.

In short, the Italian port managers are all asking for the sustainability of their budgets to be guaranteed by finding forms of compensation for lost tax and state property revenue as a result of the emergency that is causing declining commercial traffic, significantly reduced passenger services and a major standstill for the cruise industry.

The letter also reiterates the opportunity to experiment temporarily with the regulatory model used for the reconstruction of the Morandi bridge in Genoa, by appointing the presidents themselves as special commissioners for carrying out infrastructure projects which had already been planned and funded. For the presidents, this would allow projects worth over one billion euros to be completed quickly and, as a result, investments from the private sector worth as least as much.

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport replied immediately, through the Undersecretary Roberto Traversi, who declared in Port News: “In my opinion the Genoa model is not replicable in this context. In the Ligurian capital there was an obvious necessity, which was to restore a stretch of motorway. It was a matter of rebuilding a pre-existing structure, albeit shaped differently. For this purpose, both the authorization phase of the project and the awarding of the contract without a call to tender were facilitated, with the exemption from all rules except criminal law and mandatory EU constraints. That’s why the Taranto model could be sufficient, perhaps with some minor adjustments.”

Translation by Giles Foster

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