© Catharina Lindren

Livorno, Piombino and Elba Island traffic

N. Tyrrhenian ports back on course

by Port News Editorial Staff

A positive scenario overall, which sees the port of Livorno recovering from the results recorded in the first quarter and confirms the good health of the ports of Piombino and Elba

This is what emerges from the North Tyrrhenian ports first six-month performance figures. The Port Network Authority’s Studies and Statistics Dept reports that from January to June just over 19 million tonnes of goods were handled, – 4.4% compared to the same period last year. This figure is  encouraging, if we consider the condition the port of Livorno was in at the beginning of the year.

If the first quarter, which closed with 17.2 % less traffic compared to the same period of the previous year, had highlighted Livorno port’s moment of difficulty due to the nosedive in the  liquid bulk traffic segment (- 55%) and the slump in dry bulk, which was down by -24.5 % on the first three months of the previous year, the situation improved dramatically during the second quarter of the year, with the full recovery of both types of traffic, up  by 2% and 7.3% respectively compared to April-June 2021.

ENI’s liquid bulk turnover, which dropped by half between January and March, has been back up since May, while solid bulk traffic is still being negatively affected by the uncertainties of the war in the  Ukraine and the zeroing out of grain volumes: the final results for the first six months are  nevertheless clear:  -28.3% for liquid bulk and -9.7% for dry bulk.

General Cargo
Although down slightly (-1.7%), break bulk cargo performed exceedingly well, up 25.5%  over the first 6 months of the year.

This result  is mainly due to the growth  in forest product traffic, which exceeded a one million tonne throughput in the first half of the year (+24.4%): imports were up by +20.7% and exports by +72%. These figures consolidate Livorno’s role as a national hub port for this type of goods.

Slightly down, however,  both ro-ro  and containerized cargo tonnage, -3.9% and -3.7%, respectively.

Containers (TEUS)
Containerized traffic in units, on the other hand, was up 2.4 % compared to  January-June 2021. It was mainly driven by the excellent performance of traffic to and from the hinterland, which increased by 17.7%.

Both the handling of full containers (+14.3%) and empty containers (+27.6%) increased, although  27.5% consists of traffic to/from the hinterland. It is important to highlight that full container  imports have risen by +12% and exports by +15.8% compared to the first half of the year before.

Transshipment traffic, on the other hand, closed the six-month period with a 39.1% downturn. Transshipment currently accounts for only 16% of the total container throughput. Last semester, it accounted for  26.9% of the total.

Ro-Ro traffic
The six-month period ended on a negative note for both ro-ro traffic (-4.2%, with over 248 thousand commercial vehicles) and new cars (-6.9%, over 242 thousand units being handled).

It should be noted, however, that, on a quarterly basis, both sectors have gradually regained ground compared to the negative results in the January-March period. If ro-ro cargo  has narrowed the negative gap of the first quarter (which closed with a -5.6% on the same period of the previous year), a first important trend reversal has been recorded for new cars, which will hopefully continue in the second half of the year.

Over the first 6 months of the year, ferry passenger traffic, with a total of nearly 820,000 passengers, was up 83.7% over the same period in 2021.  Even if  pre-pandemic volumes have not yet been fully recovered, there is only a -8.9% difference compared to  the first half of 2019.

Cruise traffic is also showing signs of recovery from the  crisis during the pandemic. In the first six months, 107 calls were made with over 122 thousand cruise passengers in transit on Livorno’s quays.

2022 is expected to end with 292 calls and about 300,000 passengers (in 2019 there were 379 calls but there was a much higher ‘carrying capacity’. A ship traveling today with 1,500 passengers would have traveled  with 4,000-4,500 passengers in 2019).

If Livorno is gradually regaining lost ground, in the second quarter Piombino and the Elban ports consolidated the double-digit growth recorded between January and March, closing  the April-June period with +19.6% and +30.8%, respectively.

In the first half of the year traffic was up in almost all sectors, Q2 consolidated the growth recorded in the first quarter; +15% in terms of tonnage, with a throughput of almost 2 million tonnes, thanks to the growth in ro-ro  traffic (+26.5% in tonnes and +6.5% in vehicles). On the other hand, there was a slight drop  in dry bulk traffic, which closed this first part of the year slightly down (-1.1%).

Likewise, there were excellent results also in  ferry passenger sector; +42.2% over the first half of 2021 for disembarked/embarked passengers and +31.4% for private vehicles in tow totaling over 343 thousand. For cruises, on the other hand, with 3 calls as of May (9 planned in 2022) and over 4 thousand cruise passengers, the increase was 100% since no calls had been recorded last year.

In addition, the number of vessel calls increased by 17.4%  over the first 6 months of the year.

Elban ports also ended the first half of the year on a positive note. Overall throughput  was up, thanks to the good performance in the ro-ro sector, which was up  by 25.3% compared to the  same period in 2021 , handling a total of over 1.2 million tonnes of cargo.

There was a substantial increase in ferry passenger traffic; +41.9% more  passengers and +31% more private vehicles. In the  cruise traffic sector, in this first part of the year, 34 calls were recorded (80 planned in 2022) with over 5,300 cruise passengers.

Vessel calls have also improved with +13.8% compared to January-June 2021.

Translation by Giles Foster

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