Genoa - At the Port of Salerno, shipping agency work for the ships of the Grimaldi group is carried out by Michele Autuori SRL. In 1996 the Grimaldi group took over the historic agency, but representatives of the founder’s family are still present, with Ferdinando Autuori as chairman. [Not only does] Michele Autuori SRL function as Grimaldi’s operating agent at the port of Salerno, it also acts as a shipping agent within a wider area, including central and southern Italy. The port of Salerno is a key hub in Grimaldi’s maritime service network. Here, the Euromed service, which connects the eastern Mediterranean with northern Europe, calls at Salerno both westbound and eastbound, as does the Med Waf service, which joins Italy to the ports of West Africa, a region where Grimaldi, operating out of its terminal in Lagos, Nigeria, has a strong and established presence.
“The Med Waf,” explains Ferdinando Autuori, “is the service that resumed ten years ago, connecting with West Africa. At first it was every fifteen days, then every ten, and now it is weekly. Also the number of ports we call at has grown steadily over the years, with the addition of important ones, such as Casablanca and Dakar.” The Med Waf service, which was initially served by two ships, is now operated with four ships, the Republic of Argentina, the Republic of Brazil, the Great Ivory Coast and the Great Ghana. It reaches Salerno coming via Valencia, Marseilles, Genoa and Livorno, and then continues to Casablanca, Dakar, Banjul, Abidjan, Lome, Cotonou and Lagos, from where it heads back to the Mediterranean. From Dakar there are several connections to other ports: to Freetown via Monrovia and Conakry; to Nouakchott; to Libreville via Luanda, Pointe Noire, Douala, Bata/Malabo; and one for South America that calls at Vitoria, Rio de Janeiro, Santos, Montevideo, Asuncion (via Montevideo), Zarate and Paranagua. The service is mainly used to export goods from Italy to Africa. “The Grimaldi company,” recalls Autuori, “is strong in the ro-ro and multipurpose sector, it ranks third in the world in this sector. Med Waf service vessels are used for the transport of vehicles, coaches, trucks, new and used. The new vehicle sector, in particular, is proceeding well, this should be an interesting period.
A great deal of project cargo also gets shipped and transported. Ships are equipped to carry either 20 or 40 feet containers. The versatility of Grimaldi Group ships compensates for the different levels of demand, throughout the different cycles of loading, across different freight types.” The service is interconnected with the others provided by the Grimaldi group, particularly with Euromed, another service that calls at Africa’s northern region, connecting it with the rest of the Mediterranean and Northern Europe. Euromed has been in operation for twenty years, at the beginning with two ships, currently with five. It has weekly frequency, and is centred on the port of Salerno, where it calls twice.From Salerno the service heads east to Piraeus, Smirne, Ashdod, Limassol, Alexandria, then returns to Salerno and continues on to Savona, Setubal, Portbury (Bristol), Cork, Esbjerg (Denmark), Wallhamn (Sweden), Antwerp and Southampton, closing the itinerary at Salerno. “Africa,” says Mr. Autuori, “is a very important continent, it’s undergoing considerable demographic and economic development. It also suffers from significant instability. Nigeria, for example, ten years ago was a very strong market, but today it’s weakened due to terrorism and the drop in the price of oil, which represents the country’s greatest resource. Adding the Casablanca port service has been a very interesting decision, as it also allows the capture of some intra-African traffic. For Grimaldi the port of Salerno has been a nodal point, much like Antwerp for northern Europe.”