Fruit and vegetables, Italian pride

Berlin - From Genoa to Trieste, the main ports are equipped to easily handle traffic.

Berlin - Currently, Fruit & Vegetable sector imports and exports transit almost exclusively through container terminals, which now come equipped with power points to supply refrigerated containers, and are situated close to refrigerated warehouses. In Liguria, fresh fruit transits through three ports: Savona-Vado, Genoa and La Spezia. In Vado Ligure, the reefer terminal forms part of the larger APM Terminal container platform. Its operations are therefore geared to accommodating refrigerated containers in its temperature-controlled warehouses, and also continues to host a few cargo ships which mainly carry goods for the Orsero group.

In Genoa, Voltri’s VTE terminal houses Italy’s largest virtual refrigerated warehouse, with hundreds of power points around the container yard. Refrigerated containers are handled, albeit to a lesser extent, also at other terminals, such as Messina and SECH. At La Spezia, refrigerated containers arrive at Contship LSCT which, like Vado, Voltri and SECH, has an inspection centre, and Tarros’ Terminal del Golfo also handles a share of this traffic. In 2018, the latter handled 2,100 TEU in imports. 77 percent of these came from Turkey, 21 percent from Egypt and the rest from other countries. In addition, 900 TEU were exported from Italy. Of these, 32 percent were headed to Turkey, 30 percent to Libya, and 13 percent to Egypt. In addition, 1,222 TEUs in cross trading, with no involvement of Italian ports, were also carried.

Fruit also travels on ro-ro ships. However, in this case upon arrival the produce must be stored in a dedicated warehouse, a facility which is no longer available in the port of Genoa, while it’s still available at Vado Ligure and Civitavecchia.

Along the Tyrrhenian Sea, the main port for the sector is that of Civitavecchia, but there is also Salerno, which has long operated in the sector. Fruit and vegetable operators are also increasingly using the port of Gioia Tauro (for imports from Egypt). In the Adriatic Sea, the most active ports in the sector are those of Trieste and Venice, as well as Ravenna. Traffic originates in Egypt and Turkey and is often directed across Italy’s border to Germany and Poland. In general, Italian ports play a bigger role in import business, especially from North Africa and Latin America, while exports mainly travel by road to the destination markets of Central and Northern Europe. A share of the produce also travels north, reaching the ports of the Northern Range, from where it’s loaded and shipped to transoceanic destinations. Sea freight exports from Italian ports, does definitely exist, but tends to follow seasonal patterns and production areas; while kiwi fruits grown in Piedmont are loaded aboard ships at Liguria’s ports, apples cultivated in the Trentino region tend to take the Adriatic route.