Ports: Italy EU leader in maritime Med trade

But loses ground on deep sea shipping

07 January, 16:44

(ANSAmed) - NAPLES, JANUARY 7 - Italy is the leading EU country in terms of trade with the Mediterranean, but has lost ground to south-eastern ports in terms of maritime transport over the past five years, according to a biannual newsletter published jointly by Italian ports association Assoporti and the Southern Research Center (SRM), a think tank funded by Intesa Sanpaolo bank. Italy leads in the EU, posting trading volume of goods worth 57.7 billion euros with Mediterranean countries, 70.4% of them transported via sea shipping, according to the 'Ports and Mediterranean' newsletter. Italy is also the EU leader in Mediterranean Short Sea Shipping, moving 223.2 million tons of goods, or 39.2% of goods transported from Europe in this way. In 2011, overall volume of goods moved via short sea shipping was 570 million tons (+0.6% over the previous year), thanks in part to economic growth in southern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries, the newsletter showed.

Italy's sea trade totals 242 billion euros, 17% of which is exchanged with Mediterranean countries. As of August 2012, Italy's largest sea trading volume was with Libya (8.3 billion euros, or 35% of all EU trade with that country), followed by Turkey (7.6 billion euros, or 21% of all EU trade) and Tunisia (3.5 billion euros, or 32% of all EU trade).

The newsletter data also showed there was an increase in shipping through the Suez Canal, with fewer but bigger ships bringing more volume of goods into the Mediterranean. Also in 2011, world commercial sea shipping rose by 4% to a record 8.7 billion tons, while the number of ships rose by 10%.

This pushed charter rates lower as operation costs rose and sector profits fell.

Between 2001-2011, the Italian shipowners invested 37 billion euros in fleet upgrades. The Italian commercial fleet is now the fourth largest in the EU and 14th worldwide. (ANSAmed).

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