(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
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).