La Spezia - A “vacuum effect” could, in the short term, be the consequence for Italy’s ports, as the new Gotthard rail tunnel begins operations shortly, to be followed closely by the Ceneri Base Tunnel, and the new Alptransit route that crosses Switzerland longitudinally, providing the main axis for the Genoa-Rotterdam corridor. And it’s fear of this “effect” that keeps La Spezia Port Service, the community of port operators of La Spezia, on edge. Not specifically because of the Gotthard Tunnel (perhaps of lesser importance for La Spezia compared, for example, to the influence it will have on the port of Genoa), but with regard to the sum of all the grand transalpine tunnel works designed to connect markets that are more advanced logistically with a market that is fragile and helpless, as the Italian market is.
“These transalpine tunnels could become like one-way corridors for freight traffic travelling northwards, connecting the major ports of the Northern Range with an area of increasingly extensive influence, which already includes most of the Po Valley in Piedmont and Lombardy.” “For once, the truth must be voiced,” says Alessandro Laghezza, who is president of the shippers of La Spezia and an advisor at Confetra and Fedespedi. “The Gotthard today, the Brenner Tunnel tomorrow (and the nine-year period till its entry into service in 2025, will fly by), could lead to a marked dependence of Northern Italy’s manufacturing hubs on logistics and port systems located one thousand kilometres away. Presently, already, the ports of Italy’s Liguria don’t see a single gram of freight to or from Switzerland, which has put so much effort into the Swiss Alptransit Initiative, making it the most important European rail route. Reversely, however, it has consolidated a steady flow of freight trains from Piedmont and Lombardy that reach the North Sea with loads of Italian goods.”