Italian transport minister Graziano Delrio told a conference of the national ports association Assoporti that the proposed reform of Italy’s ports will be debated after the August parliamentary recess.
The proposals aim 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 range ports. The main thrust will be to change the current system whereby many of the port authority presidents are political appointees.
Announcing that the parliamentary debate would begin on 18 September, Delrio said on 22 July that the 25 port authorities as currently constituted would be reduced by half, although he did not specify exactly how many or how they will be organised.
The main yardstick is expected to be the 14 ‘core Italian ports’ as defined by the European Union’s TEN-T policy to speed up trans-European transport connections.
Two other key aspects of port reform that Delrio is keen to include in the legislation is a maritime ‘single window’ that will speed up Italian customs procedures related to the arrival and departure of ships and a dredging programme to enable smaller or more traditional ports to accommodate larger vessels.
Italy has been trying for more than a decade to reform its ports structure.