«Italian ports need rail connections»
Interview with Mr. Mario Enrico Disegni, Managing Director of Alltrans
by "The MediTelegraph"
Mario Enrico Disegni, Managing Director of Alltrans: “IThe Morandi bridge tragedy reveals how Italy underestimates the importance of infrastructure»
THE PORT of Naples has emerged from a long period of commissioners’ administration. How would you rate the port now?
“After ten years of snoozing,” answers Mario Disegni, managing director at the international shipping firm Alltrans, adviser and chairman of the maritime section of Fedespedi, as well as member of the board of directors of Alsea (Lombardy association of Freight Forwarders),“the port finally has a functioning chairman, and one who’s ready to get things done. Pietro Spirito is a direct, energetic and experienced person.”
What critical issues does he need to tackle?
“The port must get some rail connections, without which we can’t increase traffic.
Currently, apart from a 300m track located in the passenger area, there’s nothing, it all remains to be done. It’s essential that the ports of Naples and Salerno function to develop the economy of the entire south of Italy, so their trade must expand.”
What do you think of the ZES project for Naples?
“It’s a positive project, one that Fedespedi supports, and that will increase the port’s prospects. It will in creases its potential, and that’s precisely why it’s so necessary that freight can flow more easily at the port.
This is also why intermoda lity is important. Similarly, intermodality at the port of Genoa should resume as soon as possible. I’m speaking not just personally, but on behalf of the entire freight forwarders sector.”
The Morandi bridge tra gedy has brought to the fore the issue around mana gement of infrastructure in Italy. Is the problem widespread?
“We’ve had negative signs on infrastructure for a couple of years. This is not the only bridge that has collapsed, even if the consequences of this one were the most tragic.”
What effect has the collapse had on the port of Genoa?
“The Ligurian port has experienced a noticeable drop in traffic, precisely be cause intermodal connec tions cannot be fully replaced by road haulage.
We estimate that 2,500 less containers have arrived over the last month in the port of Sampierdarena. This trend must be absolutely ad dressed, the two rail tracks that were closed by the col lapse must be brought back in service. If we’re unable to maintain efficiency at this port, which is the engine for Italy’s economy, the whole country will suffer. We’d be encouraging freight loads to move to ports outside Italy.”
How has the state respon ded to it?
“The feeling is that fol lowing the emergency phase, in which efforts were naturally directed towards the families of victims and the displaced, there’s been little awareness of the problems facing the port.
We’re not seeing the authorities paying much attention. More generally, a certain mind set has taken hold: infrastructures are increasingly being seen as expenses. Unfortunately, this mentality is being seen on the EU level. But it’s a false economy. They represent investments and should be evaluated on that basis. Even good maintenance practices al low for a more secure and longlasting use of the infra structure. And this applies as much to roads as to schools. That should be the guiding principle of Italy’s government.”