“We have not yet fully emerged from the pandemic crisis. It is a crisis, not only economic, the negative effects of which are still lingering.”
The president of the North Tyrrhenian Port Network Authority, Luciano Guerrieri, begins here, from a simple observation, to express the sense of unease and suffering the logistics and port sector is currently experiencing.
Mr. Guerrieri said this at a conference organized in Livorno, at the Port Network Authority’s headquarters in Palazzo Rosciano, and dedicated to the port work theme (“Ports, work as the key issue”). “The crisis has accelerated certain processes that had already begun to be defined in previous years,” said Mr. Guerrieri, taking his cue from a reflection by Ivano Russo ,the director general of Confetra (the Italian Transport and Logistics operators’ Confederation – translator’s note), on decoupling, or the gradual separation between trends in the global economy and trends in transport and logistics, which began in 2017 and came to a head in the Covid period.
“Ivano Russo is right. A phenomenon of this magnitude, exclusively Italian, should make experts in the field reflect. It is a scenario that has repercussions on wealth and employment too. Our task is to understand how logistics can return to generating wealth”. Just while Mr. Guerrieri is saying this, dockworkers in Genoa are announcing a 24-hour strike in the port. The CULMV (dockworkers company- translator’s note) has in fact started another dispute with terminal operators on the number of working days; their constant decrease is putting the recovery plan at risk.
According to Mr. Guerrieri, the pandemic crisis must be an opportunity to begin formulating, with greater conviction than in the past, a real resilience policy. “We have to try and catch up. In other places people are already on the move.”
Mr. Guerrieri quotes from the 250-page report on supply chains delivered in late May by the National Economic Council and the National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan to U.S. President Joe Biden. “It’s an impeccable summary of the importance of supply chains to the System,” Mr. Guerrieri says, “the report identifies risks, addressing vulnerabilities and developing a strategy to ensure their resilience to external shocks.”
The Biden report “teaches us how necessary it is today to use the best resources available to buffer this crisis situation. A crisis that has above hit the economic and employment system. We are now aware of this while the debate is open on what is certainly currently the most urgent issue: lifting the ban on redundancies for the vast majority of companies.”
In Mr. Guerrieri’s opinion, the Next Gen EU is an opportunity to repair the damage caused by the crisis and prepare the future for younger generations. “We must go back to considering work not as a cost factor but as a resource. In addition, we need to regain a manufacturing capacity that seems to be lacking these days.”
According to the president, this is an issue that must put ports at the centre of a new process of regional economic development that relies on supply chains and the ability of operators and institutions to work together.
“We need to put professional skills, human capital, at the center of the port and adequately support the challenges that lie ahead,” he concluded.
Translation by Giles Foster