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Genoa, the new breakwater project surrounded by legal actions

The Ligurian Administrative Regional Court (TAR) accepted the request for suspension of the contract for the construction of the new breakwater of the Port of Genoa, a 0.9 billion Euros infrastructure

di Francesco Margiocco
2 minuti di lettura

The Port of Genoa breakwater must be replaced by a new one, in order to enlarge the Sampierdarena Basin 


Genova - The Ligurian Administrative Regional Court (TAR) accepted the request for suspension of the contract for the construction of the new breakwater of the Port of Genoa, a 0.9 billion Euros infrastructure.

All procedures are stopped waiting for November 18, next Friday, when the court will meet and could already pronounce the sentence. It is the first immediate outcome of the appeal presented by Eteria, the consortium led by the companies of the Gavio and Caltagirone families, with a request for suspension that the TAR accepted.

Eteria disputes the award of the contract for the new work to the rival consortium, led by Webuild and Fincantieri. The Ligurian TAR has set the hearing on Friday 18 November. The plaintiffs asked for a quick judgment.

The object of the appeal, writes the TAR in its decree published yesterday, is the "award of the complex integrated contract" of which Eteria is seeking cancellation. Yesterday's decision does not yet enter into the merits of the appeal but freezes the signing of the Webuild contract.

On November 18, the court, given the urgency, could already rule. Otherwise, the works, which had to start at the beginning of 2023, could be postponed, even if as explained by the president of the Port Authority Paolo Emilio Signorini, "for the works connected to the European Recovery Plan (as the the new Genoa breakwater project is) there’s a specific rule which provides that do not stop, after a vote by the panel of judges ".

The administrative court could accept the suspension request that accompanies that appeal and postpone the start of the construction site. The reasons for the legal action of Gavio and Caltagirone families are not known: the CEO of Eteria, Vincenzo Onorato, chooses not to comment on the legal action.

Webuild and Fincantieri won the contract with a discount of 9.4% based on the tender of 928 million Euros. Five months ago, at the beginning of June, both competing consortiums had judged insufficient, due to the high prices of construction materials, that auction base which, however, not only remained unchanged but was subject to a reduction.

To explain at least in part this apparent contradiction is the fact that in September the Fund for non-deferrable works of the Recovery Plan entered the Official Gazette, with an endowment of 7.5 billion Euros, to cope with the expensive raw materials in public procurement.

Building on this fund should be able to cover the extra costs. Another legal action involving the dam has as protagonist RINA Consulting, a company of the RINA group that had won the tender, for twenty million, for the project coordination and construction management of the dam, what in English is called project management consultancy.

In January, the TAR of Liguria had canceled the tender because RINA Consulting, in presenting its eligibility requirements to participate in the tender, would have indicated an incorrect specific turnover.

He should have presented the amounts made in previous years as a project management consultant and not, as he did, the total amounts of the work. RINA Consulting has challenged the sentence of the TAR before the Council of State and is awaiting the verdict of the second degree.

An agitated wait because the role of the project management consultant is fundamental from the early stages of the construction site, and a delay in the sentence would delay the work. A third legal front concerns the Nuovo Borgo Terminal, a company that has a concession of 5,000 square meters for its containers in the port of Pra’.

On 31 October, the management committee of the Port Authority approved the partial revocation of that area, to make room for one of the caisson factories of the new breakwater: "As soon as I receive the revocation documents, I will give a mandate to our lawyers to deal with the appeal," said Salvatore Prato, CEO of the company.

The new breakwater, its planners and the Port Authority say, by allowing mega container ships to enter the port, will increase the number of jobs in the port, including related industries, by 3,000 units by 2050.

But the port has at its many shiprepair companies are also internal, asking for more space. According to the numbers of Confindustria Genova (the local association of the industrial companies), ship repairs count 1,764 direct employees, a thousand related, three thousand indirect and eighty companies concentrated between the Porto Antico and the Foce. Confindustria asks that the new breakwater also be an opportunity to give these companies more space.

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