Genoa - With crude efficacy Luigi Orlando maintains that just as absence of maintenance killed the 43 victims of Ponte Morandi tragedy, “the absence of decision-making” is depriving a further 400 of their livelihood.
These are the 400 workers of the companies located in the so-called “red zone”, placed off-limits following the bridge collapse occurred August 14th. “They promised us waivers to cope with the emergency. But the bureaucracy is very convoluted.” Orlando is CEO of three of those companies, of which there are about twenty located in the closed-off area, some medium-size or small, others very small.
Orlando’s firms are Re.vetro, Ecolegno and Ecocart and their business is recycling. “We handled 30% of Genoa’s recyclables.” Re.Vetro now relies on its headquarters in Carasco, in the Chiavarese region, and on its recycling plant in Cairo Montenotte, Savona.
“We are a company that operates in Liguria, with 80 employees overall, and 15 million in turnover. The space we used in Genoa was central to our logistics. The firm is able to make up for this loss, but with difficulty.” Orlando’s other two firms have instead shut down. The larger of the two, Ecolegno, handled 30,000 tons of wood waste per year, had 25 employees overall, and 3 million in turnover.
“We’ve lost our business, all our customer-base has gone to the competition, the employees have been laid off.” Orlando has asked the Region and the Municipality for an exemption for Ecolegno. “We have three trucks licensed for self-employed transport, because until now we had used them exclusively to carry loads to our plant. We would like to be allowed temporarily to do third party transport, to be able to operate transport to other authorized facilities. They have not replied to us yet.”
Appointed only five months ago, the Regional Councillor for Economic Development, Andrea Benveduti, while ready to face the many thorny issues ranging from the Ilva crisis to the seaward extension so decisive for the future of Fincantieri, could not have envisaged a tragedy of this scope.
“We’ve met with all the companies, one by one, and noted their plight. We are doing everything possible, both on the financial and logistic front.” Financially, the Region is trying to establish a pool of banks that can offer loans at very low rates; logistically, it is compiling an inventory of all the warehouses and areas where companies could relocate.
“Finding new business space is the biggest emergency,” confirms Mario Cassano, “and at the moment unfortunately that space is not there.” Mario Cassano is, together with his brother Giovanni Battista, the owner of Ferrometal, a company located alongside the ones managed by Orlando, and also handles waste, in this case metal waste, collected from customers such as Fincantieri, Ansaldo and San Giorgio-Seigen , which it then processes to make it ready for recycling and finally for sale to steel mills. SInce August 14, Cassano has not been allowed to enter the space occupied by his company, except to recover his trucks, and has had to lay off his 13 workers. The Region is helping him in the search for a new area.
“We’ve made a few offers, and requested quick replies,” says Cassano. But the land is privately owned, and private individuals look after their own interests. “At the moment there’s nothing.” Among the companies in the closed-off zone there is also a car dismantler. Its owner, Enzo Garbarino, spends his days looking for the right new business space he can afford to buy. And in this sense he too is stuck. “I have already lost,” he says, “more than half of my clients.”