Europe is Getting Closer!
The four NAPA seaports are located at the northern tip of Adriatic sea, a natural waterway that penetrates deep into the middle of the European continent, thus providing the cheapest naval route from the Far East via Suez to Europe with a distance that is about 2,000 Nm shorter than other North-European ports.
Trieste takes on the six-month presidency of NAPA and Ravenna rejoins the association
Trieste, 13 November 2017 – “NAPA has what it takes to compete with northern European ports”. This is what the President of the Port of Trieste, Zeno D’Agostino claimed during the most recent meeting of NAPA (North Adriatic Ports Association), which concluded a few days ago in Ravenna and saw Trieste take on the six-month presidency of the Association from Koper.
The statistical performance of the Association’s ports (Trieste, Venice, Ravenna, Koper, and Rijeka) was excellent: between 2009 and 2016 the total volume of freight handled increased by 30%, from 112 to 143 million tonnes, while container traffic increased by a whopping 80%, from 1.3 to 2.4 million TEUs. Excellent results were also achieved in terms of attracting EU funds, with € 164 million from Brussels for the development of infrastructure and study projects in 2009-2016.
“We are at a moment in history when there is much talk about strengthening the relationship between Asia and Europe – added D’Agostino. Under this outlook the northern Adriatic becomes a vital link in this process, and it is very useful to have an institutional setting in which the port systems of the northern Adriatic can express themselves. Another key piece of data that we are seeing for the first time concerns the major growth in traffic in all NAPA ports. The first thing we need to analyze is this: there is a maritime Adriatic corridor in the service of international traffic, and it is becoming a crucial corridor”. “In this regard – D’Agostino concluded – NAPA is gaining new steam, and it is thus a great satisfaction for me to preside over the next semester an association playing an increasingly strategic role for European and international port systems”.
During the meeting, which saw the participation of Kurt Bodewig, European Coordinator of the Baltic-Adriatic Corridor, the port of Ravenna rejoined the Association. The request on the part of Daniele Rossi, President of the Port Authority of the North-Central Adriatic Sea, to re-admit Ravenna into the Association was accepted.
“The scenario within which the North Adriatic Ports Association will be operating– said President Rossi – has profoundly changed both at the national level, with the reform of the port sector and the creation of Port System Authorities, and at the international level, where market developments – such as the so-called “New Silk Road” – force us to be more determined in our defense of European ports, in order to underscore and boost the value of the North Adriatic with the EU’s economic and transport systems. This means re-thinking NAPA’s strategies, to which process Ravenna is glad to contribute, and I would like to thank the members that have made it possible for us to do so, so that the Association may continue to serve as a valid instrument to promote shared planning and trade actions in the North Adriatic. From now on, we will all work together, alongside Venice, Trieste, Koper, and Rijeka so as to breathe new life into NAPA, which through cooperation, sharing, and dialogue will consolidate and develop the North Adriatic port system’s position in Europe, allowing us to both face the new and complex challenges ahead, and to build upon the new opportunities that are arising for the entire North Adriatic”.
“Just a few days after my letter to my NAPA port colleagues for the re-launching of the Association – said Pino Musolino, president of the Port Authority of the Northern Adriatic Sea – I am glad and satisfied that as of today, Ravenna is once again part of our team, which looks to the future while working together on a series of important interventions for the entire upper Adriatic. Despite the economic crisis, during the last 8 years NAPA ports recorded record growth of 80% in container traffic and 30% in total traffic. Such an achievement should also be reflected in the influence that Adriatic ports should be able to have on European policy. An asset that will allow us to consolidate our lobbying efforts at the European and international levels – a sector in which we have already proven our strength, considering the significant European funds that NAPA has been able to attract: € 164 million from the EU to develop our infrastructure, to the benefit of our ports and their hinterlands. We owe our position today to the fact that we are the pillars of access to Europe: we can play our role responsively, but also with authority, even in regard to the ports of northern Europe”.
As Ravenna rejoins NAPA, the status of Rijeka remains an open question: the port is part of the Mediterranean Corridor but not of the Baltic-Adriatic one, which plays a crucial role in traffic to and from central and eastern Europe. This is a matter in which the Association’s other ports also intend to provide their support, and during the meeting this issue was discussed directly with Kurt Bodewig, who was present in Ravenna.