Genoa - They come from the same political family, successors of the Italian Communist Party; less than 100 kilometres separate them physically; they do the same job, just in different cities. And yet Giuliano Gallanti, the president of the Port of Livorno, and Lorenzo Forcieri, his opposite number at La Spezia, don’t miss an opportunity to make clear their differences. “There’s a difference in our cultures”, Galanti claims, “since to accuse me of being allied with Venice, Trieste and Genoa just because of shared future economic interests is just typical of Forcieri”. In the pages of Il Secolo XIX, the president of La Spezia’s port had accused the signatories of a letter of being ‘allies of convenience’. This letter – which has caused a bit of a storm at Assoporti - supports the reform project, which until now seemed only a pipedream of Minister of Transport, Maurizio Lupi.
Is Forcieri’s a culture of suspicion?
“Allow me to make a mean joke: His attitude matches his culture, and it’s quite typical that he would imagine all sorts of motivations behind that letter. There’s nothing strange in it. Write that down”.
But put yourself in Forcieri’s shoes: With Genoa and Livorno working together it must look to him like La Spezia is being surrounded…
“I filed a complaint (editor’s note: at the Regional Court, concerning half of the Speter area being used for passengers instead of freight) but the question of my signature on the letter is a different matter. He keeps saying that he’s not worried about the complaint. Fine, so then he should tell his lawyers to start talking to us right away…”
Forcieri maintains that you and Marina Monassi, the president of Trieste’s port, changed your minds too easily after signing the Assoporti document in support of the reform which is now before the Senate?
“We haven’t changed our minds. The Port Authorities should become limited companies, and I have been saying that for years. They should act like private companies, and there is no reason why they shouldn’t have government stakeholders, as Northern European experience has shown. This was the purpose of the document that I signed at Assoporti. But while we wait for that revolution, we are moving forward with a few modifications to the law before the Senate. End of story. We are in favour of logistical centres managing the entire supply chain making us more competitive, and that’s what was written in that letter.”
Forcieri says that the TEN-T network’s European corridors would be better.
“I just don’t understand this. I don’t understand why Forcieri talks as if the corridors were an alternative to the districts. Why would the two be alternatives when the districts are in the European corridors? There’s no reason to consider the two as alternatives”.
With your positions so far apart, how will the Assoporti assembly come to an agreement on these issues?
It could get quite nasty… “It will be a difficult conversation. Our positions are opposed and it will not be easy to find the middle ground”.
But who can make you come to an agreement in this difficult situation?
It’s like walking into a wall… It’s not written in stone that we have to respect the decision made by the majority at the Assoporti assembly”.
In other words?
“We are waiting for a signal from the government, from Minister Lupi. Now he has to put something in writing: I’m not asking for a formal legal text on the reform, but at least Lupi’s vision for our ports”.
Otherwise you could find yourselves out in the cold after taking this risk…
“We also took this position because the Minister of Transport spoke about the matter in the Assoporti assembly at the end of October. He now has quite a responsability”.