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22 October 2021 The on-line newspaper devoted to the world of transports 20:13 GMT+2

September 29, 2021

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Santi (Federagenti) defends the companies of global containerized navigation

It is necessary - is his exhortation - to seek dialogue and the efficiency to ferry the overall system (service and costs) towards a new normal

Federagenti, the federation of Italian shipping agents, defends the recent work of the companies of global containerized navigation that, in recent months characterized by the devastating impact on the world economies of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, were among the few companies, perhaps the only ones excluding the pharmaceutical ones, to mark a growth of its financial results, and not growth ordinary given that all the first maritime enterprises of the sector recorded record economic results with extraordinary increases in revenues and profits.

Referring to the disappointment expressed by different categories economic for the significant increase in maritime freight for the container transport, the president of Federagenti, Alessandro Saints, he replied that these are repeated controversies for other also triggered by subjects who would have institutionally the interest in cultivating a positive relationship with large groups shipowners and that are as sterile as the result of a reading absolutely partial.

It is true - this is the reading of the president of Federagenti - the noli have increased and by a lot, but it is just scroll through the trend of the money market from 2010 to today, to find surprising answers. For over a decade - has taken over - large container transport companies have sailed in red without any possibility of covering the "running" cost", not to mention the financial burdens that these groups have faced to renew the fleets or uncertainties that today they are also faced in the key of the transition Energy. Many groups - recalled Santi - have disappeared, decimated by the crisis and low prices; others continued to invest with rents that certainly enriched other rings of the logistics chain.

According to Santi, "today it seems appropriate to lower the tones and ask yourself some questions. What would have happened - you are asked the president of Federagenti - if the shipowners at the beginning of the pandemic had decided to stop the ships waiting for times better instead of organising health security systems and management of personnel on board and on land (I am also thinking of the network of shipping agents)? Systems that have guaranteed to all countries of the world to continue to live and produce; crews that are remained on board the ships uninterruptedly even for nine months without being able to return home and activities carried out on board in the various ports at the beginning of the pandemic from the maritime supply chain when the status of a large part of the world's white collar workers was that of "smart working"».

"What would have happened and what could happen in a near future - continues the analysis of the president of Federagenti - if shipowners were not investing huge sums to integrate fleet and "equipment", remembering that the life of a ship is minimum of thirty years and that the ecological transition imposes stringent emission limits where it is certainly not clear which will be the most efficient applicable technologies in the medium term? What could happen to consumers and enterprises - it is the threatening observation of Saints - if the shipowners decide on selective service policies?"

"We believe - concluded the president of Federagenti - that if we give common sense answers to these questions and not preconception, thinking about the market and not thinking maybe about returns to State economies, the effect should be to seek the dialogue and efficiency to ferry the overall system (service and costs) towards a new normal other than past and sustainable for the entire supply chain».

Summarizing in a provocative way, from the reading of the current state of the containerized shipping market proposed by Santi one could argue that in recent months the mood of the shipping companies in the sector was this: "first other links in the logistics chain were enriched while we we sailed in red. Now it's our turn." Weak - one could note just as provocatively - the defense of the category if based on the sacrifice of seafarers forced to stay on board ships during these long months of crisis world health. Sacrifice - it must be said - recognized tangibly by some (few?) shipowners.

If then, as Santi acidly observes, in these months "the Status of a large part of the world's white collar workers was that of "smart working"», it must be pointed out that among those collars there were and still are employees and managers terrified by the outcome that the crisis is having and will have on the their non-maritime companies, but perhaps customers of maritime ones. A dismay that does not pass whether you work in the office or from home.

It is difficult to believe that, after the initial fear for the consequences that the pandemic could have had on their business, the managers of containerized shipping companies we have not breathed a sigh of relief when this fear is vanished and did not celebrate when their companies have obtained financial performance never achieved in their history. Only crazy people would not have been pleased with this positive outcome, and those in question crazy are not really. In summary: if we certainly do not have to process them, we must not even praise them for not having stopped their ships. What is the entrepreneur who does not he would have preferred that his activity should not be suspended, apparently and sometimes effectively sine die? Without go very far, just ask those committed shipowners in the cruise industry.

Bruno Bellio

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