PSA goads the government over the Third Tunnel

Genoa - Meng was in Genoa yesterday - the day of the inauguration of the Gotthard Tunnel, which is an essential element of the Genoa-Rotterdam European rail corridor - to celebrate the terminal’s four new “swan-neck” cranes, each with a 53 metre lifting height, becoming operational.

di Alberto Quarati

Genoa - “Did we do it on purpose? No, it is just a coincidence. With his thousands of commitments he was coming here today, so we wanted to hold the party today.” He is Tan Chong Meng, the C.E.O. of PSA International, one of the largest terminal operating groups in the world and the majority shareholder in PSA Terminal di Voltri-Pra’. Meng was in Genoa yesterday - the day of the inauguration of the Gotthard Tunnel, which is an essential element of the Genoa-Rotterdam European rail corridor - to celebrate the terminal’s four new “swan-neck” cranes, each with a 53 metre lifting height, becoming operational. The cranes are part of a €250 million investment plan which, with four further cranes due to be delivered in Autumn, will make the terminal the only one in Italy (except for Gioia Tauro) capable of handling loading and unloading operations on three 20,000 TEU ships simultaneously.

Meng did not miss an opportunity to wink at the audience of port workers, operators and politicians at the event yesterday: “I received a letter from Minister of Transportation Graziano Delrio, in which he apologised that he could not be here today. He had to be at the ceremony for the Gotthard Tunnel, which is on an important rail line. Of course, on the Italian side, one piece of the rail line is still missing...” With the port of Genoa, PSA Terminal Voltri-Pra’ is effectively the terminus of the Genoa-Rotterdam axis, and the matter of the railroad is doubly on the mind of Gilberto Danesi, the terminal’s C.E.O., not only because of the Third Tunnel which Meng mentioned, but also because of the doubling of the rail link between the terminal itself and the national rail network, which has been one of the most debated unfinished projects in the Port of Genoa for some time. Two inaugurations on the same day, 300 kilometres apart, along the axis that cuts across Europe. A celebration for the new cranes of the largest import-export terminal in Italy, and a celebration in Switzerland for the longest tunnel in the world, which, however, is in danger of sucking up all the freight from the Po River Plain to Northern European ports, where PSA has a mega-terminal, among other things.

The government’s representative, Luigi Merlo was present. Merlo is an advisor to Delrio and was president of Genoa’s Port Authority during the years in which Danesi carried out the long negotiations in Rome to modify the “aerial cone” (the take-off and landing trajectory at the airport), which made the installation of the new cranes possible. So it was Merlo who responded to Meng, conceding that “the Third Tunnel will be ready in 2020, but now we must work to optimise what we already have, raising operating efficiency on the line and what we have already started in terms of computerized processes.” On the other hand, Paolo Emilio Signorini, rather than Councilman for Economic Development Edoardo Rixi, spoke for the local authorities, although Rixi was sitting in the front row. Since he is considered to be electable as president of the new Port System Authority of Genoa-Savona, for many of those present, Regional Secretary Signorini spoke as the yet-unrecognised chief of the port. Rixi shrugged his shoulders and said that he didn’t know anything about it, [while] the Region said that it was a coincidence due to the last-minute absence of President Giovanni Toti.

Container weighing

Since mid-May, Genoese freight forwarders have been conducting tests at three platforms to certify the weight of containers before their arrival in the port, at Ronco, Ovada and Tortona, in response to international regulations which will take effect in July. Spediporto created the VGM consortium, which includes Spediservice, CSP and Cerisola& Brillante.

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