All the right moves? An analysis of Italian ports

An established port market, with local hinterlands to serve and existing port facilities to complement. Sounds like some of the key criteria needed to launch a successful expansion RfP, right? Well, yes, but it’s still no guarantee of concluding a successful process unless the right approach to the analysis is followed.

Back in 2015, the Port Authority of Livorno, Italy, released its plans to attract an investor to help develop its Europa Platform. The Greenfield project, known as Piattaforma Europa, is a smaller version than its predecessor. The Livorno Port Authority halted the previous project in 2017, following a review to make the project more cost-effective.

The revised budget is expected to total €467 million, approximately €200 million less than the original scheme. Project timelines are based on binding bids being due in Q1 2018 under a Design, Build, Finance and Manage (DBFM) contract.

Livorno container traffic has increased by around 3.3% per annum since 2011 – by comparison, Genoa has seen 4.0% over same period, while La Spezia demand has stagnated. Larger ships and cascading means consolidation of port calls – competitive ports need to be able to receive bigger ships. Northern Italian and regional ports are increasingly becoming capacity and ship-size constrained.

Yet the key issue is not necessarily the maritime facilities but the hinterlands being served that can generate cargo. Livorno has significant local market to serve i.e. Rome and the surrounding area, but can also reach northern Italian hinterlands and into Central Europe. Projects are underway to improve rail capacity through the Alps.

Sounds great, but knowing this and showing how it is relevant is the real key to any analysis.

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