Naples rediscovers itself as the capital of the sea

THE 3RD edition of Naples Shipping Week, scheduled from 24 to 29 September, is about to begin.

THE 3RD edition of Naples Shipping Week, scheduled from 24 to 29 September, is about to begin. This year’s edition, after the collapse of the Morandi Bridge, will be dedicated to Genoa and its port as a sign of solidarity. We invited Umberto Masucci, president of the Propeller Club, who has always been the “heart and soul” of the event, to talk about it together with Carlo Silva of Click Utility, and a group of their tireless and enthusiastic collaborators.

What does Shipping Week mean for Naples?

“Shipping Weeks are held only in the main capitals of world shipping, in London, Hong Kong, Singapore, and one is held in Brussels at European level. In Italy, we hold one per year but since we have two capitals of shipping, Genoa and Naples, we take it in turns. During even-numbered years, Naples takes its turn hosting the shipping week as a complex of events that bring together the culture and history of the sea, the sciences and universities of the sea, ports and logistics. Naples Shipping Week is also a facilitator of relations between people, associations, and public and private bodies. This year we wanted to dedicate the NSW to Genoa and its port: we invited Governor Toti, Mayor Bucci and AdSP President Signorini to Naples, and beyond the solidarity that we want to express for them because of the tragedy, we will also give them the opportunity to communicate to both the Italian and foreign groups the concrete steps that they are taking to contribute to an immediate solution of the logistical problems that the port of Genoa has. We will also take advantage of the school term starting to involve many young Neapolitans in the events, seeking to get them excited about the world of the sea and the port.”

What does it mean for the shipping industry and the maritime cluster in general?

“Perhaps we are not even fully aware of it, putting Naples and its maritime cluster at the centre of everything for a week in Italy and around the world contributes much to the knowledge we want to promote of Naples, its port, its shipping industry, which - and I want to point this out - is the leader in Italy.”

How and in what way has it changed since the first edition?

“First of all it is good to remember that after two editions, 2014 and 2016, carried out while the port was governed by commissioners, 2018 will be also the occasion to discuss a very different situation with the Port System Authority that has forcefully restarted an process of development at the Port of Naples and the port system of Campania. The success of the previous editions convinced everyone to come back and pushed others to be present. We have also developed the winning formula of combining a cultural and scientific part with the congress area, very closely linked to business; in the first days of the week we will have visits to the marine protected areas by the Harbour Master’s Office and conferences in the prestigious Neapolitan Zoological Station of the CNR. Alongside Parthenope University, which has always participated in our events, Federico II University will have a presence with its Economics Department, which, together with the Port Authority and SRM, is organizing a major “brainstorming” session on the Special Economic Zones, a fundamental subject for the development of Campania and the South in general. For the Propeller dinner on Friday evening we continue to visit places of art and Neapolitan history and, after Castel dell’Ovo and Palazzo Reale, this year we head up to Castel Sant’Elmo, the beautiful fourteenth-century fort that dominates the city. Then on Saturday we will be guests of the Museum of Capodimonte for a special visit. The Amerigo Vespucci, the fascinating training ship of the Italian Navy, will be the splendid setting for events related to the sea which it will host together with the frigate Rizzo, and these will be open to Neapolitans and tourists as well.”

What sort of economic impact will it have on the city?

“Thousands of people will come, and our events help to fill the hotels and restaurants in Naples, so many people who come to Naples on this occasion then return, positively impressed by the places that we help them discover and appreciate.”

Tell me about the highlights of this upcoming edition.

“For the conference part we will obviously have a major focus on the theme of ports and shipping. Ports that were still awaiting imminent reform in June 2016, can now take stock of the effects of the new law that came into force in September 2016, and see what has been done and what remains to be done. There will be an interesting meeting between the Port System Authorities, all of whose Presidents will be present, and the businesses operating in the ports, shipowners, shipping agents, ship operators who will certainly not fail to stimulate discussion. The shipping industry will then have the opportunity to take stock of the market, which depends entirely on international dynamics, and which, unfortunately, especially in some sectors, is still slow to show signs of recovery. Among others, IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim, the highest world authority in the maritime sector, will be present at the event.”

What do you think is the winning feature of Naples Shipping Week?

“Certainly the whole squad. The Propeller Club managed to create a high level NSW organizing team, which is united and proud of what it has accomplished: the first meeting, I recall, was held in May, 2017, and in that one, as in the following ones, everyone contributed ideas with great enthusiasm; about fifty people who, outside of their public and private roles, were pleased to prepare this third edition to the highest standards. The marriage between the Naples Propeller Club and Click Utility (the Genoese organization of Carlo Silva) has so far proved successful. Finally, we are grateful also to the Neapolitan and national press that has always supported our event.”