Genoa - Thanks to the change in government, more than two years after the Delrio reform - that called for the unification of the former Port Authorities of Gioia Tauro and Messina - the Ministry of Transport has opted to leave the two entities separate: “The choice goes in the direction of protecting and of making the most of the peculiarity of the Strait of Messina,” the MIT explained, “a territory that is highly disadvantaged which many passengers pass through every day, many of them commuters. It is right to give these people an adequate transport service, and for this reason the need has arisen to provide the area with an ad hoc port system authority.”
The new Authority of the Strait of Messina - for which, sources in the sector explain, a corrective rule to Decree 169/2016 will have to be written - includes not only the Sicilian port, but also the two ports in Calabria, Villa San Giovanni and Reggio Calabria, which have until now been controlled by Gioia Tauro, the former since 1994 and the latter since 2016.
The ministry justifies the choice emphasizing how the Authority that operated Gioia Tauro’s container port was inadequate to handle passenger traffic such as that found in the Strait, which is largely commuter traffic: in fact, it is the advertised approach of Minister Danilo Toninelli, who has promised more government attention to this area.
Of course, there are those who will take this new situation with the docks as a victory for Sicilian policy on the port front: the reform (which has led to many stomach aches over the mergers between authorities in every region) initially called for a single authority for the whole island, while there are now in fact three.
Messina was against the unification with Palermo as well as with Catania-Augusta, and now has its own Authority which also includes Calabria’s most important passenger port. Finally, with this move, the Sicilian port - the only one in the Region not to be included in the Special Economic Zones - will have an Authority that will insist on two SEZs: the segment around Villa San Giovanni (until now included in Gioia Tauro) and that of Messina itself, for which the state is preparing the necessary documentation. At the same time, two new presidents will have to be chosen: one for the Authority of the Strait and one for Gioia Tauro.