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“Determined to reunite Italy’s shipowners” / INTERVIEW

Mattioli, Confitarma leader, naturally born mediator, is sure he can restore peace in the sector: “Enemy is beyond our borders” warns.

ONE MIGHT say he’s a kind person, but also smart and funny; these are the qualities most people appreciate in him. But there’s also his impeccable education and his outstanding self-control.

In short, he is a first-rate fellow; for some even too decent for his own good. Mario Mattioli was placed at the helm of Confitarma at a particularly difficult time; he has had to tackle the ongoing crisis of the maritime industry, the departure of some important members and the unending war between the former president, Manuel Grimaldi, and the head of Moby-Tirrenia, Vincenzo Onorato. Will Mattioli succeed in re-launching Confitarma in this context? This is what many people wonder and this is what the future of the Italian ship-owners’ confederation rests upon. But the new president believes there is a future and is ready to face the challenge.

Today, shipping is experiencing a great cultural change on a global level; new players are entering the sector and there’s an increasingly important presence of institutional investors in the industry while the banking system seems to be retreating: how are ship owners dealing with these changes?
“The last 10 years have been characterized by a global crisis, which inevitably affected not only the maritime transport sector, but also its traditional financial partners. Today we look to the future with a cautious optimism; there are signs of recovery in the world economy but we must not forget what the crisis has taught us. Important changes have taken place in our sector too: companies that are financially strong received support and grew in terms of fleets and tonnage; new operators, with a more financial than industrial perspective, have entered the industry; companies specialising in a single sector of activity have also been supported and gained a much more significant market share compared to those that diversified in several sectors, but with less significant shares for each one individually; there’s greater confidence in companies that have invested in internal reorganization processes and managerial skills. In any case, shipping remains a capital-intensive sector per unit of production (the ship) and its relationship with the finance sector remains unavoidable, both through traditional bank financing, even if there’s less of it than in the past, and through new methods: investment funds, debt funds, bonds, stock exchange, etc. Globalization keeps us all tied to the same destiny, so unity is strength; communication and collaboration amongst financial instit”.

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