“I am grateful to Captain Aponte for his support by visiting our port today which further underpins not only our commitment but also that of the private operators who want to make La Spezia more efficient and able to compete internationally,” said Lorenzo Forcieri, President of La Spezia Port Authority in a welcome address.
Also in attendance to welcome Captain Aponte were Contship Italia President, Cecilia Eckelmann-Battistello and Eurokai President, Thomas Eckelmann, the main shareholders of the port’s La Spezia Container Terminal (LSCT).
Prior to arriving at the port, Captain Aponte and Mr Forcieri had a meeting with La Spezia Mayor, Massimo Federici, who was briefed on LSCT’s investment plan. The concession awarded to LSCT as part of the Port’s Master Plan was important as it avoided the need for further public investment in developing the port to meet the needs of both the operators and the international market.
“With the completion of the works planned by LSCT, handling capacity will increase from the current 1.3m to 1.8m teu, a growth that will lead tomore than 700permanent jobsat full capacity. In this time of economic crisis these figures are really significant, not only for the region but for the country as a whole,\” Mr Forcieri said.
In response, Captain Aponte said that he congratulated Mr. Forcieri for everything that he and the port authority were doing not only for the development of the port, but also for its users. La Spezia’s location between Genoa and Livorno gives shipping lines the chance to servedifferent cargo areas from one single port of call.
“We are ready to increase our commitment with larger container volumes when the expansion is completed. La Spezia is an important example for Italy which demonstrates that there is no need to build new ports but instead concentrate on developing and strengthening existing capacity of which there is more than enough,” Aponte added.
In contributing to the welcoming addresses, Cecilia Eckelmann-Battistello said that on behalf of the Contship Italia Group she was grateful for Captain Aponte’s visit. “Having MSC as a 40% shareholderof LSCT is very important and a great strength to us and we are delighted to underline our investment commitment of €200m in the terminal – the first time in Italy that a private operator has invested in port infrastructure,” she concluded.