In May 2016 the two industrial associations of Livorno and Massa Carrara joined together as a single entity, Confindustria Livorno e Massa Carrara, which has since been chaired by Alberto Ricci. The merger of the two entities took place in the context of an overall reorganisation of the national industrial associations, whose numbers in Tuscany were reduced from ten to five, and will soon be only four. Also in 2016, Italy reorganised its Chambers of Commerce and Port Authorities, which in Livorno led to the birth of the Camera di Commercio della Maremma e del Tirreno (which covers Livorno and Grosseto) and the Port System Authority of the Northern Tyrrhenian Sea, which includes the ports of Livorno and Piombino.
Could the lack of territorial overlap between these entities be a problem?
“Indeed, while Confindustria saw to the merger between Livorno and Massa Carrara, the port reform led to the birth of two System Authorities, one with the ports of Livorno and Piombino, and the other with those of Marina di Carrara and La Spezia. While I acknowledge the many positive aspects of the port reform, I must emphasize that the dismemberment of Tuscany’s port system was a negative one. Among other things, the lack of territorial overlap between the entities means that the information that each collects on their respective areas of competence does not produce comparable data. As far as Confindustria is concerned, I see this as a phase of transition towards regionalisation, towards the creation of a single Tuscan Confindustria, because from an economic point of view the region is unique. It’s a long path, but it’s possible.”
What role does the port of Livorno have to play in this?
“For Tuscany, the port of Livorno is the most important driver of economic recovery. Tuscany has three crisis areas. Two are areas of complex crisis, in Livorno and Piombino, and another is Massa Carrara. In recent years, the activity of the port of Livorno has grown against the odds. In addition to the port, the cargo area behind the port is also important, as it makes it possible to attract automobile and RO-RO traffic through the port. The cargo storage area makes the port of Livorno a reference hub not only for the territory, but for all of north-eastern Italy.”
What weight do the port companies have within Confindustria?
“As a study by the Camera di Commercio della Maremma e del Tirreno shows, the economy of the sea in our territory has continued to grow throughout the crisis, thus increasing its weight within the association. Among our companies, those categorised as maritime businesses, including terminal operators, RO-RO operators, and technical-nautical services, account for 15 percent. And there are also the shipyards, including world class producers such as Benetti in Livorno, for the over-60-meter-long segment (their latest unit is 109 meters long) and the New Apuania shipyards in Massa, for the 30- to 60-meter-long segment. Thanks to the development of the shipyards, even furniture makers in the wider area have been able to overcome their difficulties by converting into suppliers of furniture and appliances, not only in the province of Livorno, but also in Pisa and Lucca.”
What do you expect for the future?
“Today the port of Livorno no longer has room to develop new activities. We move 20 million linear metres of rolling stock, we are the leading port in Italy in this sector, but the situation is that we are at full capacity. It is important to build the Darsena Europa, not only to increase our capacity to receive containers, but also to shift activities and free up areas for other uses, such as RO-RO, timber products and more. From this point of view, the plan is promising. We hope that the platform will be ready in 2022. Unfortunately, the amendment of the environmental code has led to a revisiting of the old plan, which had lower costs, but delayed the schedule by two years. We are currently reviewing the definitive design for the outer breakwater, which is preparatory to the construction of the platform. The second step will be the construction of the wharf.”