Codognotto: “Italian logistics needs bigger margins” / INTERVIEW

“Operators are crushed by demand for lower and lower prices

In your opinion, what is the state of health of the transport sector in Italy?

“The logistics and transport market in Italy is basically stable. In any case it must be pointed out that the other major European markets, like France, Germany and Spain are maintaining continuous, although limited growth. The largest problem is the extremely limited margins in our sector, in which the operators are being crushed by demand for lower and lower prices. This situation removes the possibility of investing in modernisation, research and innovation, factors that among other things would produce greater environmental sustainability.”

Between the rail, maritime and road modalities of transportation, which is in the worst shape?

“If I had to point to a modality of transport that is in bad shape in Italy, I would certainly point to rail. For us it is basically easier to do the intermodal change from road to rail abroad, while in Italy the modality of transportation that remains the most competitive is road haulage. In fact, if we look at the general data on freight transport, it turns out that 75% still travels by road.”

But what are the advantages that could benefit those who operate in Italy?

“We do not see any real advantages in working in Italy. Our group has effectively leaned on internationalisation in its development and growth, beginning in 2005, which led us to be present with 40 operational sites in 20 countries around the world. Unfortunately we encounter problems with high taxation, as well as structural and bureaucratic limitations.”

Minister of Transport Graziano Delrio’s reform law led to mergers between some ports. Do you think it was a brave choice?

“The port reform was long awaited, because it was supposed to guarantee a greater concentration of investments in the most strategic ports. Nevertheless, the reform merged local entities at some ports, but it would be more functional and radical if it had succeeded in establishing a single authority for macro regions, like the Northern Adriatic or the Tyrrhenian, for example.”

What initiatives should move forward to improve and speed the connection between ports and place of arrival-departure of goods?

“One mustn’t forget physical obstacles associated with the last mile. I would concentrate on improving the obstacles that result from long and redundant procedures to streamline the bureaucracy and documentation, an aspect of the problem in which we have much to learn from our reference markets in Europe.”