The Terminal Operations Conference & Exhibition
1-3 June 1999
SHORT SEA: THE FUTURE OF EUROPEAN
TRANSPORT AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO
CONGESTED LAND LINKS
Manager - Responsible for External Relations
Ladies and Gentlemen
First of all, I wish to thank you for giving me the opportunity
to speak at this Conference about short sea shipping in Europe.
Short sea trade has dramatically increased in the last years in
Europe representing today about 40% of the total trade of goods.
According to the Directorate-General VII of the European Commission,
since 1970 short sea trade in Europe has been growing of 3,2%
yearly, higher than the average growth rate of the whole sector
of transport of goods.
In view of contributing to satisfy these increasing needs for
short sea transportation the Grimaldi Group has made huge investments
over recent years in new buildings, equipment, port terminals
and human resources.
Eight new ro-ro/multipurpose vessels were ordered by our Group
to the Fincantieri shipyards in Italy. Five of them, built in
Palermo, will join Grimaldi & Cobelfret Lines for their routes
from North Europe to South America and West Africa.
For our "Grimaldi euro-Med Service", three vessels,
each of 51,700 GT, have joined in the last 12 months, the 35,000
GT sister ships "Fides" and "Spes", in operation
since 1994. The m/v "Grande Europa" was delivered in
March 1998, the m/v "Grande Mediterraneo" last September
and the m/v "Gran Bretagna" was delivered last March.
These three Euro-Med vessels, built at the Fincantieri shipyard
of Castellamare di Stabia, are the most technologically advanced
of their type on the North European and Mediterranean routes.
Fully computerised, they are equipped with 11 decks, two of them
hoistable, and have a seed of 21 knots. A sophisticated system
of inner ramps, fixed and hoistable, make these units suitable
for the handling all types of cargo in nearly combination simultaneously.
However, in order to further satisfy the requirements of our clients
we have evolved into a Multimodal Transport Operator and with
the aim of improving the quality and competitiveness of our door
to door services, we have also invested in road transport and
have set up of a network of port terminals in strategic locations
throughout the Mediterranean. Following this strategy, our Group
intends to keep all costs under control by means of optimisation
in the door to door transport chain whilst achieving damage levels
close to zero through accurate and diligent prevention. In this
way we can ensure a high quality standard in every phase of the
Port terminals are an extremely important ring in the chain of
short sea transportation. However, in order to be successful,
they should be jointly managed by all the operators involved in
the transportation chain: logistic operators, ship owners, forwarding
Our Group has followed this philosophy in its effort to create
a network of dedicated port terminals in the Mediterranean. We
already run ro/ro-multipurpose terminals in Salerno, Palermo,
Alexandria and Valencia which have all proven successful.
The Salerno Auto Terminal, with a surface of about 60,000 m2,
has an annual movement of over 200,000 new cars, but also
several thousands of containers and trailers. Automar, a joint
venture between Grimaldi and some strategic operators, runs a
trucking company serving Fiat, Ford, Opel, Peugeot, Renault, Seat
and VW. It manages a compound of 185,000 m2 at Pontecagnano
near Salerno, linked to road and rail and offering its PDI facilities
to the main car manufacturers.
The Palermo Euro-Terminal (PET) has a surface of 15,000 m2
and is used for the handling of new cars, ro/ro cargo, containers
and general cargo to and from Sicily. In 1998, it has handled
over 100,000 cars and several hundreds of containers. The recently
created Valencia Terminal Europa (VTE), a joint venture between
our Group and Spanish partners, manages since May an area within
the port of 40,000 m2 while Grimaldi Logistica España,
a dedicated logistic company in charge of the Iberian market,
is being established to flank VTE's activity.
Studies are underway for other terminals in Ireland, Denmark,
the Benelux area, Portugal, Greece and Northern Italy. In the
latter, we are currently in the process of study for the creation,
with other important logistic operators, of a ro/ro-multipurpose
terminal in Northern Italy, between Savona and Livorno. With a
surface of about 100,000 sq. metres this new facility should be
able to handle over 1 million cars yearly for traffic between
Italy and other countries but also cabotage between the North
and the South of the country.
Here, I would like to stress the point that operators willing
to invest today in roro port terminals face enormous obstacles
due to the attitude of Port Authorities who are almost exclusively
interested in attracting the container trade. This has resulted
in a proliferation of container port handling facilities throughout
North Europe and the Mediterranean with the result of a serious
imbalance between the demand and the supply of such facilities
while there is a serious lack of adequate facilities for the ro/ro
All the investiments made contribute to the strenghtening of the
"Grimaldi Euro-MedService", our ro/ro and container
service linking, on a weekly basis and at fixed-day sailings,
17 ports in 13 countries of Noth Europe and the Mediterranean.
These ports are: Cork, Portbury, Esbjerg, Wallhamn, Antwerp, Southampton,
Livorno, Malta, Piraeus, Izmir, Ashdod, Limassol, Alexandria,
Palermo, Salerno, Savona, Setubal. Within the current year, Valencia
will be added in the itinerary of the Euro-Med Service.
The Euro-Med Service directly links the peripheral areas of Europe,
from Greece, Southern Italy, Portugal to Ireland, Southern England,
Denmark and Sweden. Industries situated in these countries are
put in the best possible competitive environment by giving them
the opportunity to be in direct connection with the most important
European and Mediterranean markets.
The "Grimaldi Euro-Med Service" is the most extended
short sea service in Europe and the closest to the guidelines
for short sea shipping issued by the European Commission. By being
a valid alternative to road transportation it is an environmentally
friendly service as it gives a contribution to the decongestion
of European motorways from trucks and trailers and to the reduction
of air pollution and the saving of energy consumption.
This effort was awarded by the Commission which granted us funding
through the Pilot Actions for Combined Transport (P.A.C.T.) Programme,
for the new operational combined transport project linking Cork
with Northern and Southern Europe, through the introduction of
a regular direct scheduled door-to-door container service using
ro/ro multi-purpose vessels.
Besides the Euro-Med Service, the Grimaldi Group has made other
efforts to improve short sea shipping in Europe. Since March of
the current year a new regular maritime service for trailers links
Italy with Spain as an alternative to road transportation. Ports
linked are Livorno, Salerno, Palermo and the Spanish ports of
Valencia and Barcelona. Trailers moving cargo between these two
countries but also to and from Portugal and Greece will not have
to be routed for thousands of kilometres through the congested
motorways of Southern France and Northern Italy.
However, this new concept of cabotage in Europe and more generally
short sea shipping will be successful only with a change in the
way some ports in North Europe and Mediterranean are run. In short
sea shipping, the weight of port and handling charges has a very
high incidence on the overall intermodal costs. Therefore, the
prerequisite for the successful promotion of innovative maritime
services is to have cheaper and more efficient port and stevedoring
In many countries, ports still operate in a monopolistic environment,
with high charges and poor services in terms of quality, labour
rigidities and outdated regulations. This situation generates
inefficiencies that threaten the development of short sea trade.
Everybody seems to be very sensitive to the protection of the
environment. It is, however, a device to finance the railways
creating distortions in the European transport market. Although
it is proven that short sea shipping is the most environmentally
friendly mode of transport it is penalised with indirect costs
charged to the ships in countries which consider themselves environmentalist.
For instance, light dues usually do not apply to the trucks or
trains for the use of motorways or railways.
In Barcelona and other Spanish ports, the T3 charge on each unit
(either ro/ro or container) loaded or discharged from a vessel
is unfair for short sea trade as this additional cost does not
apply to cargo moved by road or rail to and from Spain.
Stevedoring companies in several ports operate in an oligopoly
which restricts the competitiveness of the service whilst in more
efficient ports the same service is much less expensive and of
the same quality. In some ports specific services, such as the
lashing of cars, can only be offered by the stevedoring companies
who charge the shipping lines very high fees.
Being an integrated part of the maritime transport system, ports
must become cheaper, offer more efficient services and adapt their
own infrastructure and tariffs to the needs of short sea trade
which implies more frequent and shorter calls compared to deep
sea trade. Ports can enjoy economies of scale and a better utilisation
of the terminal spaces dedicated to the short sea routes.
In order to tackle all the above mentioned problems, the Grimaldi
Group along with 7 other ro/ro carriers from the most important
shipping nations of Europe have recently set up the High Level
RoRo Carriers Action Group. This special committee whose Chairman
is Dr. Emanuele Grimaldi acts within ECSA, the European Community
Shipowners' Associations and intends to solve, through institutional
channels, several problems that ro/ro short sea operators face
in Europe such as port costs and inefficiencies, the GT/GRT calculation
for ro/ro vessels and to promote short sea shipping focusing on
its advantages in environmental terms.
There is no doubt that short sea shipping is a valid alternative
to road transport. However, in order to efficiently promote it
all players in the sector such as ports, stevedoring and forwarding
companies, governments and the European Institutions must give
their contribution to its viability.
I thank you for your attention.
SALERNO AUTO TERMINAL
- 60.000 SQ.M. SURFACE;
- 250.000 NEW CARS AND THOUSANDS OF CONTAINERS
AND TRAILERS MOVED IN 1998.
- 15.000 SQ.M. SURFACE;
- 100.000 NEW CARS MOVED IN 1998 (INCLUDING
FIAT EXPORTS FROM THE TERMINI IMERESE PLANT).
VALENCIA TERMINAL EUROPA
- 40.000 SQ.M. SURFACE;
- 150.000 NEW CARS WILL BE MOVED AT FULL
THE VESSELS OF THE "GRIMALDI EURO-MED
- THE 35,000 GT SISTER SHIPS "FIDES"
- THE NEWLY-BUILT 51,700 GT SISTER SHIPS:
- THE M/V "GRANDE EUROPA", DELIVERED IN MARCH
- THE M/V "GRANDE MEDITERRANEO", DELIVERED IN
- THE M/V "GRAN BRETAGNA", DELIVERED IN MARCH
THE GRANDE-CLASS THREE EURO-MED VESSELS
- A SPEED OF 21 KNOTS.
- TOTAL CARGO DECK AREA OF 34,000 SQ.M.
FOR THE TRANSPORT OF CARS, COMMERCIAL VEHICLES, TRAILERS, CONTAINERS
AND ANY KIND OF FALLETISED AND HEAVY RO/RO CARGO, INCLUDING VERY
LARGE PROJECT VEHICLES.
- A CAPACITY OF 4,650 PASSENGER
CARS OR 3,320 LINEAR METRES OF OTHER RO/RO CARGO OR
750 TEU, THEIR IDEAL CARGO INTAKE IS 2,500 CARS,
2,000 LINEAR METRES OF RO/RO CARGO AND 300 TEU.
THE GRIMALDI EUROMED SERVICE
ON THE NORTH EUROPE-MEDITERRANEAN ROUTE INCLUDE 17 PORTS
IN 13 COUNTRIES THAT ARE DIRECTLY SERVED ON A WEEKLY BASIS
AND FIXED DAY SAILINGS.
THE PORTS ARE: ESBJERG, WALLHAMN, ANTWERP, SOUTHAMPTON, ALEXANDRIA,
LA VALLETTA, PIRAEUS, LIMASSOL, ASHDOD, IZMIR, PALERMO, LIVORNO,
SALERNO, SAVONA, SETUBAL, CORK, PORTBURY AND VERY SOON VALENCIA.