Can Italian ports still play a strategic role | CDP

Can Italian ports still play a strategic role?

The maritime system is a key sector for the national economy, contributing around 3% of GDP.

In this context, ports play a central role, despite difficulties in recent years brought about by the entrance of new competitors in the Mediterranean.

The new Brief investigates the characteristics, growth opportunities and new challenges for a sector that still has a strategic role to play in the country.

Read the Key message and download the pdf for full details.

  • The maritime system’s contribution to the national economy is around 3% of GDP. Within the cluster, ports play a fundamental role, regardless of their directly produced economic value, equal to 8.1 billion euros, 17.5% of the total marine economy.
  • More than 1/3 of Italian international trade takes place by sea, second only in ranking to road transport.
  • Of no less importance is Italy's role in passenger traffic, where the size of the cruise sector stands out with 12 million passengers carried in 2019, the highest share in the Mediterranean.
  • However, in recent years, the Italian port system has lost market share, especially to competitors bordering the Mediterranean.
  • That said, the port system can continue to play a strategic role, for at least three reasons: 1) economic, related to the importance of the production sectors connected to the port network and the link between port sector efficiency and competitiveness of the national production sector; 2) geo-political, linked to Italy’s geographic position, including from the perspective of shortening value chains; 3) as an essential node of an integrated and intermodal logistics system.
  • However, there are critical issues to be overcome requiring focussed targeted actions: infrastructure consolidation and security; reducing the intermodality deficit; process digitisation; simplifying administrative procedures; developing green ports with a focus on sustainability.
  • Ports are therefore perfectly placed to be recipients of Next Generation EU funds, which would be the ideal opportunity to overcome the structural limits of the national logistics system and focus with determination on strengthening it strategically.
Read the brief (Available in Italian)