Vado Ligure - After liquidating the fruit terminal in the French port of Sète last month, the GF Group yesterday sold the Vado Ligure reefer terminal to APM Terminals (as anticipated by the MediTelegraph last autumn) and concluded the transfer of ownership of 64% of Vio Interport, also located in Vado. The value of the transaction (assisted by NCTM Law Office for APM, and Munari Giudici Maniglio Panfili & Associates for GF Portem, the GF subsidiary that owned the reefer terminal) has not been announced, but it is clear that GF has sold one of its most valuable assets and the company will now further focus the business - as explained by the president of the group Raffaella Orsero – towards, “the import and distribution of fruit and vegetables,” by equipping APM with the largest fruit terminal on the Mediterranean Sea, which is ideal for medium-small size container ships (up to 6,000 TEU capacity) and with a total capacity of 250,000 TEU per year.
The transition from the old to the new management will be overseen by the current CEO, Alessandro Piccardo. In the medium term, APM has committed to continuing with the previous management’s business plan to ensure industrial continuity. The Orsero family will continue to be customers of the terminal, through the subsidiary shipping company Cosiarma, with four ships for the transportation of fruit. The CEO of APM Terminals Italy, Carlo Merli, has guaranteed that, “the activities and jobs will be consolidated at least, and if everything works properly, they will be implemented.”
Currently, the reefer terminal employs about 110 people: with the new acquisition and the planned completion of the container platform by 2018, APM will have, at Vado, a structure capable of managing more than a million TEU, with more than 750 employees, and moorings for state of the art containerships (with a capacity of 18,000 TEU), both for intra-Mediterranean trade, or external routes operated by major alliances among global carriers. It is worth noting that the AP Moeller-Maersk group which controls APM, manages both types of container, through the companies Maersk Line (the largest in the world) and Seago, both customers of the nearby port of Genoa.As for the Vio (Vado Intermodal Operator), the Port Authority of Savona, which has been a shareholder since 2009, has invested €23 million, increased its control from 8% to 72%. The remaining shares are owned by Autostrada dei Fiori (28%). The final agreement, signed by Orsero and the president of the port of Savona, Gian Luigi Miazza, was completed at the end of a long administrative process that started in 2014, and involved a further 64% shareholding package of the company headed by GF Group. Vio is also key to the structural platform of Maersk.
The operation carried out by Miazza has been widely discussed (because it increases the participation of a public entity, when in fact the goal is public divestment), however, it obtained the go ahead from the Ministry of Transportation and Economics and the EIB. The goal is to support Savona in its quest to meet the European Core parameters for ports. Within Italy, the strategy for Savona is the only one within the framework of the Delrio reform, that maintains the Authority as it stands and prevents a merger with Genoa.