Smet to invest “more and more in green traction”

Salerno - The De Rosa family created Smet in Salerno in 1947 and has been running the group for three generations. The group’s current leader is Domenico De Rosa. The group, which ended 2018 with an aggregate turnover of €315 million, started out as a road haulage operator, but has since developed an all-round business in the intermodal sector.

It is a logistics operator and FIATA agent for international shipments and operates shipments and transport worldwide, both by sea and by air. Today it has a combined vehicle fleet of over 4,500 loading units and employs 2,000 people in 30 locations across Europe and the Mediterranean.

“We specialise in multimodality in all its forms”, Domenico De Rosa explained. To invest in land-sea intermodality, Smet did not wait for the speech in favour of the Motorways of the Sea that Italy’s then President, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, made in 2000 in Messina.

“We have been committed to promoting sustainability since 1995, with a strong use of the Motorways of the Sea, in collaboration and partnership with the Grimaldi Group. We have developed an ambitious and courageous project with Grimaldi that has led us to be leaders in the RO-RO sector, both in the Mediterranean and in the Baltic Sea. In addition to maritime intermodality, we have also developed rail intermodality.”

On the railway front, there is active collaboration with the carrier CFI. Smet is a link in the logistics chain that works on the one hand with Grimaldi, and on the other, with the car manufacturer FCA, formerly Fair. “Our principle is that intermodality should be preferred because of its lower costs and greater guarantee of environmental protection.” The environment is an objective that Smet has been investing in for years.

This year it became the first company in the world to put the new generation Iveco S-Way vehicles on the road. They use liquefied natural gas (LNG) for fuel. “Since the first tests were carried out,” De Rosa explained, “the vehicles have shown themselves to be great exponents of the future, and we expect outstanding results both in terms of performance and consumption.”

And De Rosa’s projects don’t stop there: “From 2023, we will be diesel-free. It means that from then on we will no longer be buying diesel-powered vehicles. We will continue to invest in the LNG, but we are also doing analyses on the use of fuels other than liquefied methane.” The project is still on paper, but comprehensive tests will be presented as early as 2020. The new Iveco vehicles are also 100 percent telematically connected. This is also an important issue for Smet. “Connectivity, through an app that we adopted in January 2019, allows us to get the most out of our vehicles. We have drastically reduced the number of empty kilometres travelled and hence CO2 emissions. We have verified that in the first six months of using the app we have reduced empty journeys by 15%. This makes operators more responsible in the use of their assets.”

Today the group has an international dimension, but the link to Salerno remains very important. “Campania,” says De Rosa, who is also president of the intermodality commission of the Alis association, “is the capital of intermodal logistics in Italy, with a product value that is even higher than Lombardy’s. However, we believe that, on the whole, the creation of the System Authority of Naples and Salerno hasn’t benefited us. It has rationalized some aspects, but much remains to be done on issues such as back-doors and dredging. Ports must be equipped to accommodate large merchant ships and dredging is essential for this. The freight villages must be able to sustain port growth. Too often congestion is causing the quays to close due to overloading. We are continuing to move in the direction of larger and larger ships, and we have little time to upgrade our infrastructure.”