The Italian cabinet has given preliminary approval to proposed reforms that will see the number of port authorities reduced to 13, with several ports sharing the same administration.
Infrastructure and transport minister Graziano Delrio presented the draft law on 2 July and it will now go before the Italian parliament before being enacted by prime ministerial decree.
Under the proposed legislation, port authorities will be grouped on a regional basis. For example, Genoa and Savona will unite under a single authority as will Ravenna and Ancona. Exceptions include Trieste and Venice, which will remain single port authorities despite being grouped together in the northeast region.
The detail of regional governance will be hammered out in parliament before the proposal returns to cabinet to receive the fiat of premier Matteo Renzi.
Italy has been trying for more than a decade to reform its ports structure. The draft legislation aims to reform both ports and their supporting infrastructure in an effort to recoup some of the cargo volume the country has lost to other Mediterranean ports as well as northern ports. A central aim is to change the current system whereby many of the port authority presidents are political appointees.
Ports reform has been hampered by resistance from vested political interests and the short life of political administrations during the past decade. None of the administrations during this time, including Renzi’s coalition government, has lasted longer than three years.