Port reform, Guerrieri's view

If revolutions start with small changes

by Port News Editorial Staff

Reducing our current Port Networks? “No thanks”. The president of the North Tyrrhenian Port Network Authority, Luciano Guerrieri, discusses the 84/94 port reform law debate. He did so on a local TV show featuring him talking to logistics students from Livorno’s Vespucci-Colombo Institute, as part of the ‘Open Port’ programme designed to open up ports to local citizens.

“Although nothing has yet been defined on this issue, some speculations have emerged from the on-going reform debate taking place among industry experts, about redefining the number of Port Network Authorities and their geographical location, plus setting up two large Port Network Authorities (PNAs) with a European outlook, one for the North  Tyrrhenian and one for the North Adriatic,” Guerrieri says.

“I believe that ports belonging to such a large, strategic geographical market could not receive the same attention from this new type of port administration as they do from the current PNAs, which are clearly smaller in size,” he adds.

According to Mr. Guerrieri smaller is better: “Over the last few years, since the Delrio reform law came into force, Port Authorities have had to redefine their operational boundaries and learn to think of themselves as networks with very different port realities coexisting and complementing each other. The work carried out by administrations to create these networks has been long and arduous from all points of view, above all in regulatory terms”:

Altering the framework even more, over seven years after that reform, would probably generate, according to Guerrieri, further confusion in the maritime-port scenario. There would certainly still be the need to supervise competition between ports, which “at such a broad level would risk no longer being governable by a single, super Network Authority”.

Guerrieri is convinced: “This would lead to a process of streamlining Port Network Authorities,  giving them jurisdiction over excessively vast geographical areas; costs and benefits for the community would have to be weighed up,” he admits. “It is therefore better that the current Networks remain as they are. Changing their size would be a mistake.

The president of the ports of Livorno and Piombino believes the PNA operational capacity should be reviewed rather than their governance model. One of the ways forward would be to allow Port Authorities to hold even majority stakes in companies specializing in  logistics and intermodality outside the port .

While inside the port, PNAs have to continue to be regulatory bodies. According to Mr. Guerrieri, they need to be put in a position to define synergetic relations with logistical nodes in a geographical area whose borders have expanded considerably following the emergence of national port systems.

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