The Ambassador's visit

Livorno and Tunisia building new bridges

by Port News Editorial Staff

Tunisia’s ambassador to Italy, Moez Sinaoui, visited Palazzo Rosciano. The Tunisian diplomat met President Luciano Guerrieri at the Port Network Authority’s headquarters this afternoon.

To welcome him, in addition to the Port Authority’s leading figure, the managing director Matteo Paroli; port councillor, Barbara Bonciani; the president of Confindustria Livorno Massa e Carrara, Piero Neri; the president of Spedimar and Confetra Toscana, Gloria Dari; the president and director of Asamar Livorno, respectively Francesca Scali and Paolo Caluri; the president and the managing director of Tuscany’s Amerigo Vespucci freight village, Rocco Nastasi and Raffaello Cioni.

“For Italy, Tunisia represents a natural commercial partner on the southern banks of the Mediterranean,” said Mr. Guerrieri. “The port of Livorno has been building profitable trade relations with Tunis for quite some time now. The almost 9,000 semi-trailers handled in our port between January and September through the Cotunav shipping company bear witness to this. Our aim is to intensify trade and, in particular, strengthen ro/ro links.  Not only that. We hope to soon be able to promote enhanced cooperation with the Tunisian port authorities in terms of digitalization of the logistics chain on both sides of the Mediterranean”.

Ambassador Moez Sinaoui expressed his full support in this sense, highlighting how today there are the conditions to resume and intensify trade between the two countries, also by establishing new maritime links in both the ro-ro and passenger traffic sectors. From this point of view, the diplomat agreed on the need to update and enhance the memorandum of understanding signed back in 2016 between the former president of the Livorno Port Authority, Giuliano Gallanti, and the director general of the Office de la Marine Marchande et des Ports, Sami Battikh. Based on the agreement, the two parties had committed to study and develop joint innovation projects in the areas of maritime and port safety/security, environmental sustainability and simplification of logistics and port procedures.

During the meeting, president Piero Neri emphasized the importance of trade relations between Tunisia and Italy. He pointed out the strategic role that Africa can play in a vision that has, at its center, the relocation of manufacturing activities close to consumers (reshoring) and the development of the port of Livorno as a strategic logistics node within an integrated system of transport and logistics in the pan-Mediterranean area. “If Livorno is able to get the Darsena Europa ready, new areas for developing ro-ro and passenger traffic will be available in the port ” he said.

Francesca Scali also stressed the historic nature of the relationship between Livorno and Tunis, which dates back to the end of the 1970s and has seen the Tunisian shipping company, Cotunav, become Livorno port’s privileged partner in Africa.

Gloria Dari made a similar point. The basic premise is that about two thirds of Tunisian exports and imports with Europe transit through Italy: strengthening the cooperation between the two countries and, specifically, between Livorno and Tunisian ports, is therefore a further step towards the adoption of macro-regional policies that ensure greater coordination of initiatives aimed at implementing trade relations between the two shores of the Mediterranean.

“Today” – said Barbara Bonciani – “marks the beginning of a fruitful collaboration that the two communities intend to further develop in the perspective of a stronger partnership between Europe and the African continent. Tunisia is a strongly democratic country which we intend to keep in constant  contact with, also in terms of trade relations.”

Translation by Giles Foster

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