Ports struggling

N. Tyrrhenian ports, negative semester

by Port News Editorial Staff

The final figures for this first semester present a negative performance for the North Tyrrhenian Network ports. These results must, however, be contextualized in the current general emergency situation that has not spared any Italian port in terms of the downturn in traffic throughputs.

Overall, the ports of Livorno and Piombino and the Elban ports of Portoferraio, Rio Marina and Cavo handled 17,696,241 tonnes of goods, 20.7% less than in the first six months of 2019.

The Port of Livorno

The statistics provided by the Port Network Authority and divided by ports show a total traffic throughput of 15.5 million tonnes of goods in Livorno, down 16.6% compared to the same period in 2019.

In terms of tonnage throughput, the most important downturn was recorded for the breakbulk sector which, overall, totaled   11.5 million tonnes, down 14.5% compared to the first 6 months of 2019, despite the positive result for general cargo (especially forest products) which closed this first part of the year, with an increase of 8.7%.

Significant reductions were recorded for the ro-ro (-19.4%) and containerized goods sectors (-10.5%). The double-digit downturn in the breakbulk sector must in fact be attributed to 63.2% of the overall reduction in the port’s traffic in the first half of this year, amounting to over 3 million tons. The negative performance in terms of tonnage throughput was also driven by the liquid bulk sector (-23.6%) and the dry bulk sector, albeit to a lesser extent, (-3%).

As far as container handling is concerned, the first half of 2020 closed with a total traffic of 367,393 TEUs. There has been a downturn in hinterland traffic from/for the port (-11.5%) and transshipment traffic (-6%) that continues to constitute over 30% of the total volumes handled by the port. For full containers, May was the worst month: compared to last year, in terms of TEUs handled, imports were down by 36.2% and exports by 32.1%.From the month of May onwards, in fact, the port of Livorno witnessed a reduction in the frequencies of calls by certain scheduled services, like Hapag-Lloyd’s MGX service.

Negative data also for the port’s ro-ro traffic that, after the good performances and the continuous records in the last few years, has recorded a 16,8% downturn in terms of the number of commercial units handled. The downward trend regards both imports and exports. In percentage terms, compared to the first six months of last year, there has been a 16.3% drop in imports and a 17.3% drop in exports. The total number of commercial vehicles handled was 217,012, 106,756 of which were disembarked and 110,256 were embarked.

New car traffic, which has clearly suffered from the slump in sales and the consequent lack of pickups by dealers, recorded a loss of 46.1%: the number of new cars handled in this first part of the year totaled 195,564 compared to 362,695 last year.

Negative results also for ferry passengers, which in the first half of 2020 totaled 286,265 units disembarked/embarked. The overall downturn was 68.2% compared to 2019, i.e. almost 614 thousand fewer passengers.

Forest products as a whole (cellulose, kraft paper rolls and wood) were the only positive commercial traffic with a throughput of 872,073 tonnes. Compared to the first half of 2019, the volumes handled registered a percentage increase of 8.6% with a 5.2% increase in exports and a strong increase in imports where the tonnage throughput almost tripled (however, they represent only 5% of the total port throughput).

For the cruise sector, with cruise activity at a complete standstill since March, losses have been even heavier with a 93.6% drop in both the number of cruise passengers and the number of calls (132 fewer than in 2019).

The Port of Piombino

In the first half of the year, the port of Piombino handled 1,465,895 tonnes of goods, 39.9% less than in the same period of the previous year. Both liquid bulk (38,401 tonnes handled, -9.3%) and solid bulk (743,143 tonnes, -34%) were down. General cargo also fell by 46.2% compared to the first six months of 2019, to 587,569 tonnes.

The port’s ro/ro traffic fell by 31.3% in terms of the number of vehicles handled. The total throughput was 32,856 units: 16,321 imported and 16,535 exported.

Ferry traffic plummeted by 59.1%. Overall, 483,228 passengers were handled. Cruise activity, instead, is at a complete standstill.

Elban ports

The ports on the island of Elba closed the first half of 2020, with a total throughout of over 675 thousand tonnes, were down by 44.6%.

Ro/ro traffic, which represents the total volume of goods embarked and disembarked in the island’s ports (Portoferraio, Rio Marina and Cavo), fell by 30.7% in terms of vehicles handled. A total of 32,266 units were embarked and disembarked, 14,264 less than in the first six months of 2019.

Ferry passengers were 480,510, 58.9% less than the over 1.1 million units in January-June 2019.


Translation by Giles Foster

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