Genoa - Spain and Morocco are currently the Mediterranean markets where the Western Ligurian Sea Port System Authority of Genoa and Savona is focusing most. A Port Authority spokesperson explained, “Intra-Med traffic is one of our priority objectives. We are carrying out activities in collaboration with other Mediterranean ports for the further development of the Motorways of the Sea, in particular to North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula.
These projects are still in the early stages and so of course the Authority’s offices prefer to wait until an official announcement is made, but they are disclosing some information. “In Spain, a port is conducting market analysis to create new intra-med scheduled services and is interested in our Port System Authority. We are working together to assess the feasibility of these lines and then offer them to the market. Another thread of our business concerns Northern Africa: “We have had meetings with Moroccan ports. It is a very important emerging market. We are trying to strengthen relations.”
Ferries are the most attractive mode on these routes, as the data provided shows: “Intra-Med RO-RO traffic is growing faster, even compared to containers. In 2016, for example, RO-RO grew by 14.5% compared container traffic’s 13%.” We must keep our eyes on training. The Port System Authority has a partnership with the Port of Barcelona and is part of the Escola Europea de Short Sea Shipping, which is a European Union recognised training body. “The Escola also serves to promote short sea shipping networks in the Mediterranean and is an opportunity to maintain continuous contact with shipping companies, forwarders and other ports.”
Relationships and cooperation between ports, in this case between those in the Western Mediterranean, are the main objective of the Intermed association, which includes Genoa, Barcelona and Marseille. At the moment, the Presidency is held by Genoa. The association is active in the Euro-Mediterranean context, but also has broader perspectives. On 18 May, for example, it will participate in the Transport Logistic trade fair in Shanghai.
In 2017, the total traffic between the port of Genoa and North Africa decreased compared to 2016, from 6.8 to 5.6 million tonnes (-18%), while traffic to and from the Middle East increased from 5.4 to 6.6 million tonnes (+22%). The Authority records which ports are the most important in terms of trade with Genoa, regarding both overall tonnage and TEU. In the first case, bulk and RO-RO account for the largest amount of traffic. The Italian and Mediterranean ports are Genoa’s leading trading partners. Taranto came in first place (3.4 million tonnes), followed by Palermo (2.5 million tonnes). Among the Mediterranean ports, Malta is in fourth place (1.9 million), Tunisi-Rades in fifth place (1.8 million), followed by Ceyhan, in Turkey (1.5 million), Catania (1.5 million), Porto Torres (1.2 million) and Barcelona (1.1 million). The matter of TEU is different, as they are largely generated by overseas traffic. No Mediterranean nor even any European port made the top ten list. The highest is Alexandria, Egypt, in eleventh place (47,000 TEU). Twelfth was Algeciras (45,000), fourteenth Gioia Tauro (44,000), then Tunis, Livorno, Naples, Tanger Med and Algiers. Overall, container traffic to and from Mediterranean ports accounts for a 25.39% share of Genoa’s total traffic, up from 24.48% in 2016.
But the Authority’s attention is now focused on ferry traffic, which in recent years has shown the greatest dynamism with the creation of new services and the entry of new operators such as Grimaldi Lines into the port of Genoa, and to a lesser extent and only seasonally, Algerie Ferries, alongside the traditional Tirrenia, GNV, Moby, Corsica Ferries and Cotunav. Grimaldi’s Savona-Barcelona line, Corsica Ferries’ Savona-Bastia line, and GNV’s Genoa-Barcelona-Tangier and Genoa-Tunisi lines are mixed, carrying both passengers and goods. Only freight is carried on Grimaldi Lines’ Livorno-Savona-Valencia and Livorno-Savona-Barcelona-Valencia lines, Grendi’s Vado Ligure-Cagliari line, and also Grimaldi’s Genoa-Catania-Malta and the Genoa-Catania-Patras-Bar lines.