SERVICES

ALIS flexes its muscles with three thousand assembly attendees

Rome - As first assemblies go, this one was certainly well attended: if there weren’t 3,000 it wasn’t far off; and, naturally, the representatives of Italy’s ports were in the front row, members of the Logistics Association for Sustainable Intermodality (ALIS), founded by its president, Guido Grimaldi.

Rome - As first assemblies go, this one was certainly well attended: if there weren’t 3,000 it wasn’t far off; and, naturally, the representatives of Italy’s ports were in the front row, members of the Logistics Association for Sustainable Intermodality (ALIS), founded by its president, Guido Grimaldi. Many students, ferried there on buses, were seated on the bleachers. There was a conspicuous absence of major political heavyweights; instead, only a few undersecretaries (Barbara Degani for the Environment, Antonio Gentile at the Development ministry, and Gabriele Toccafondi for Education), but none of the ministers; Graziano Delrio was absent, but is expected to be in Genoa next week together with Gianluigi Aponte, Grimaldi’s arch-rival. Absent also was Ennio Cascetta, president of Ram - Motorways of the Sea. The ALIS president was the focus of much attention. When asked by the Secolo XIX if the meeting was convened with an eye to entering politics, Grimaldi replied “Absolutely not, at least not for now, I’m still a businessman.” He then moved on to attack Vincenzo Onorato, head of Moby and Tirrenia: “Some operators are benefitting from public subsidies, causing unequal competition. In Italy, contributions amounting to 92 million euro are being paid to an operator who employs outdated ships. It’s a huge amount of public resources utilized, for an operator that has not yet finished paying the costs of privatizing that ferry line, which was a former state company. And this also penalizes other operators.” Grimaldi, next, targeted Italy’s Ferrobonus and Marebonus (state incentives) models, “The best model is the Austrian one: there, incentives last longer, and are higher.” Triple the amounts, compared to Italy: “More funds are needed, and these must go directly to the hauliers.”

One year in, and ALIS has spawned CONFALIS, the association’s tool to aggregate other federations. For some time, now, it’s been on an acquisition spree, and in recent times it has accelerated: ALIS initially took several companies under its wing (“We number thirty-three thousand, and we represent 320,000 workers,” pointed out Guido Grimaldi, president of the association). The ball is now in the court of the other associations. On one hand, Grimaldi is gathering his troops, and yesterday’s mustering of three thousand participants should be seen as a show of strength. On the other hand there’s MSC (led by Onorato, boss at Moby and Tirrenia). Those who are still on the fence are being courted to join one of the two camps. Confetra is also in ALIS’ sight, but recent contacts with further associations seem to have gone awry at the last minute. MSC’s presence in Assitermina is a significant one, and there remains open the way that leads either to Confcommercio, or to a retreat to its current position within Confindustria. Confarmatori - MSC’s new lobbying association - is still a work in progress, and Grimaldi pointed out: “Having multiple shipowner associations is not needed. It does not help anyone. What we need is more compactness.” Yesterday there were no political figures in attendance. The heads of some port system authorities showed up: in the front row Pasqualino Monti (Palermo), Andrea Annunziata (Catania), Pino Musolino (Venice), and Zeno D’Agostino, representing public entity, Assoporti. However, Naples and Salerno, Barcelona and Valencia are also within ALIS’s sphere. ALIS has a healthy obsession with being green: thanks to the Sea Highways, Co2 emissions have dropped by between 40-60 percent, as results obtained in the first eight months of 2017 have shown; “It translates to a one-million-tonne reduction.” And, thanks to continental cabotage, ‘there are 1.5 million less trailer trucks on the roads.”

Pressed for time?

Get the best news of the week in your inbox

Subscribe ››