The "green" revolution of the PNRR also passes through the ports

By ASLA - Associazione degli Studi Legali Associati

di Marco Cottone* and Valeria Viti**

For months now, the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (Pnrr) and the industrial and economic sectors that will be impacted by what has been defined by many as the "green revolution", ready to invest the Italian system, have been the protagonists of all publications, journalistic and more.

Within the PNRR and, in particular, in the part relating to complementary funds, a large allocation is foreseen for reforms that aim to improve the competitiveness and productivity of ports and, above all, greater sustainability of the mobility of passengers and goods. Sustainability of both means of transport and infrastructures.

Beyond the undeniable, as physiologically intrinsic, strategic nature of these infrastructures, the particular attention paid to ports within the reform interventions that animate the Pnrr is the daughter of the institutional confrontation that took place between trade associations (such as the Associazione Porti Italians) and the Government, as well as the strategic role played by the entire port sector during the period of health emergency to ensure the supply of essential goods for the country.

The primary objective of the PNRR, in this area, is therefore the rational development of a sustainable, digitized transport infrastructure, which passes through the modernization of the logistic chain and the port system through a system of widespread reforms throughout the country.

Among the most important innovations, worthy of note is the implementation of a regulation that defines, among other things, the conditions relating to the duration of state-owned maritime concessions, the supervisory and control powers of the granting authorities, the procedures for renewal of the concessions , as well as the methods of transferring the plants to the successor concessionaires. And this through the harmonization of the rules on maritime property, mainly contained in the Navigation Code, with those of the Procurement Code, in order to ensure regulatory and interpretative uniformity of the matter. All in a context in which it is a fact that the controversy over the extension of state-owned maritime concessions, in conjunction with a jurisprudential orientation that is not crystal clear on this point, has discouraged investors, especially foreigners, from "focusing" on the development of national infrastructures, resulting in a negative impact on investment and modernization. The dissolution of this knot will hopefully give impetus to the rebirth of the sector.

The development of intermodality with the major European communication lines, including Mediterranean traffic, is another important chapter of the PNRR.

Through the digitization of logistics systems, including port and airport ones, the aim is to reduce the environmental impact of infrastructures, through a perfect integration of communication nodes and networks, so as to ensure a more fluid movement of goods and people. From this point of view, the "historic" objective of the national transport policy, namely the decongestion of roads and motorways from the traffic of goods and passengers, which would have as a further consequence a substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, could finally become a reality.

It is in this scenario that the Green Ports project (Investimenti 1.1 - PNRR) is framed: a project that envisages interventions for the environmental sustainability of ports and which sees the AdSPs of the Center North play a primary role in making port activities compatible and sustainable with the related urban contexts of reference, through the implementation of measures aimed at energy efficiency, the reduction of electricity consumption and the promotion of renewable energy.

A further point concerns the promotion of the conservation of the natural heritage and biodiversity of the port areas. This objective probably presents greater implementation difficulties if we consider that the Italian port cities have profoundly changed their structure, according to the development of their ports, in many cases to the detriment of the protection of the territory and biodiversity. This, however, cannot justify the absence of evaluations of this aspect in the planning of new investments.

Finally, the attention paid to ships is interesting, starting with the provision that will allow the construction of cold ironing infrastructures more easily, or rather electrification of the docks to allow ships parked in ports to connect to the land network for supply. thus avoiding the use of on-board generators and, consequently, reducing noise and atmospheric pollution.

Again with reference to ships, an investment plan is also envisaged aimed at renewing the Italian merchant fleet with so-called ships "Green", powered by energies alternative. A bit like what happened, in principle, with the massive replacement of single-hulled ships with double ones, imposed by the European Community with the well-known Erika I and II packages of the 2000s.

The objectives, while ambitious, are however well defined. All that remains is to hope for its full and coordinated implementation in order to promote and improve, from an industrial and environmental point of view, the entire transport compendium.

*Managing Associate Navigation and Transport Law, Restructuring and Bankruptcy Procedures, Legance – Avvocati Associati
**Senior Counsel Administrative law, Energy, Project & Infrastructure, Legance – Avvocati Associati