Venice - “Without dredging, the port of Venice is blocked. We have been waiting too long for the approval from the Interregional Authority for Public Works, which hasn’t come: the situation is critical, and we are suffering as a result.” Pino Musolino, the president of the Port System Authority of the Northern Adriatic Sea, does not mince words when describing the state of health of the port of Venice, which has now been waiting months for a green light that has still not been given. “Without adequate depths,” he continues, “many ships cannot call at Venice, and the entire economy linked to the port - and much more - will suffer enormous damage.” The freight traffic generated by the ports of Venice and Chioggia, in the first quarter of the year, reached 6,814,166 tonnes (a decrease of 4.14% versus the same period last year). Viewed annually, however, the decrease becomes an increase: the 27,222,890 tonnes recorded between April 2018 and March 2019, in fact, represent a positive result of 1.11% over the previous year.
“In the first quarter of 2019,” Musolino points out, “traffic at the Venetian ports, which are mainly ports of an industrial character, has been affected by the decrease in production that affected the Italian economy in the last quarter of 2018. The slowdown in the national economy and the reduction in orders, in fact, resulted in lower imports of raw materials and reduced exports of finished products to non-EU countries through the gateway of the port of Venice. Part of the decrease recorded,” he adds, “is also a consequence of the difficulties that the Port System Authority is experiencing in its attempts to establish a better defined calendar of maintenance excavations, and this is clearly a critical issue as far as draught is concerned. On an annual basis, however, the slight decrease in the first quarter is absorbed by the excellent results for 2018, so much so that the year-on-year figure maintains a positive trend with an increase of 1.11% over the previous year. We are confident,” he concludes, “that the recovery in the indicators of production, which have gradually recovered since January 2019, could be reflected in the movement of goods as soon as the next quarter.” To go into more detail, the port of Venice’s figures for the first quarter show a drop of 5.8% in the total tonnage handled on a quarterly basis, and a growth of 1.2% on an annual basis (26,093,508).
The figure for industrial traffic, which has grown by 18.3% (3,935,759) in the last year, is positive. Specifically with regard to the type of goods, there was a decrease of 4.7% and 16.4%, respectively, in the handling of liquid and solid bulk cargo. However, the figures over the year show +2% for liquid bulk (9,252,446 tonnes) and -1.8% for solid bulk (7,031,561 tonnes). Goods in packages are doing better, showing growth in the quarter in question by 2.4% and 2.8% for the year (9,809,502 tonnes).
Container handling dropped by 3.6% on a quarterly basis but increased by 2.7% on an annual basis, reaching the figure of 626,882 TEU. Analysing the quarterly data, it can be seen that the decrease in containers only affects empty containers, while those full of incoming and outgoing goods are on the rise. Passenger transport also shows a decrease in figures on a quarterly basis but good performance over the year. Cruise passengers, for example, fell by 36.2%, but the annual trend shows a growth value of 7.1% with 1,569,610 passengers, of whom 1,330,213 are home port passengers and 239,397 transit passengers. Local passenger and ferry movements (207,554 passengers) were stable year-on-year, with a decrease of 7.7% on the quarterly basis.