COULD YOU describe your group? “The SCAFI group was founded by my grandfather Salvatore Cafiero, and currently it operates mainly in the tug services sector. We also operate offshore towing and salvage services. Our fleet consists of over 30 tugboats with a varied range of power and sizes, matching all the characteristics of the ports in which we operate, with over half of the tugs featuring azimuth propulsion, a system that allows the propellers to rotate 360,° allowing our vessels full power capability and unparalleled manoeuvrability. We are an Italian group, with a holding company located in Naples, and operational headquarters in La Spezia, but we aspire to operate globally. Currently we operate in the ports of La Spezia, Gioia Tauro, Savona and Vado, and over the past two years also in Croatia, in the ports of Rijeka, Pula and Zadar; we have operated also in Panama previously, and we are always looking for new opportunities within our sector in other Mediterranean ports.”
How important now is technological innovation in maritime transport and tugboat operations?
“Tugboats are very sophisticated and technological vessels, they must guarantee maximum reliability, the ability to provide its power at certain moments across a range of manoeuvres, and great flexibility and manoeuvrability in ports which are becoming ever smaller, while, conversely, ship sizes are constantly increasing. We were among the first to use ASD tugs in Italy (featuring azimuth propulsion as mentioned above), the first to collaborate with leading firms in the construction of tugs, accompanying step by step the design and construction stages in various parts of the world (in the various shipyards where the tugs are built), customizing them to the requirements of each port in which we operate. For some time now our vessels have been equipped with a digital interface to their respective operational centres. Technology and innovation is a byword of our activity, providing greater safety in ports, on ships, and to our personnel, with an ever-increasing focus on the environment, not just simply modernizing our fleet and equipping it with the latest technology, but also being attentive to the possibilities of reducing CO2 emissions.”
What are the main advantages of operating in the port of La Spezia?
“Discovering the Port of La Spezia was certainly down to me; I can just appreciate how farsighted my family was when it chose to focus on La Spezia, after meeting and taking an immediate liking to that forerunner of shipping that was Angelo Ravano, he was someone who immediately understood the potential of this port; it’s a port which derives strength through teamwork, whether between the Maritime and Port Authorities, or the local shipping community and the global players that have decided to invest here, of which Consthip is the most significant. La Spezia is at the centre of Northern Italy’s markets, close to Switzerland and Southern Germany and Austria, and has always understood that operating efficient ship servicing in the disembarking or embarking stages is as important as the ability to receive and distribute the cargoes that come into port in a timely and safe manner. All the players involved have been innovators in this effort, and working at it 24/7 has allowed the La Spezia system to be known all over the world as an innovative and successful system. But one should beware of just resting on one’s laurels, we at La Spezia know that holding on to success is more difficult than achieving it. We’ve been here for over 60 years, we’re part of the community, and indeed we have invested in human capital making it the operational headquarters of the holding company.”
Your group has been working for years in the Italian market, what do you see are the prospects for Italian shipping?
“Italian shipping, the centrality of port activities and logistics are part of the DNA of this country, in the middle of the Mediterranean. We need to invest in infrastructure, make the right choices and avoid the scattergun approach. Since there are never enough resources to go around, we need to guarantee timelines for freight and for the operators who invest. We’re here to do our part every day, whether big or small, to help achieve that.”
How much attention do you pay to safety and security in your work?
“Safety at the port, for its people and the ships that berth here and depart on a daily basis is our number one priority. For this reason we have staff whose sole job is to train and educate. Safety is in our DNA, of the seafarers firstly and then of those giant vessels that come to visit us in this beautiful Gulf, that is now capable of mastering a happy marriage between commercial port, shipbuilding, and tourism.”