Genoa - The VTE terminal has handled record traffic levels in 2017. On 5 September, the PSA Voltri-Pra Terminal achieved an important milestone: one million TEU moved in 2017. These results were achieved one month earlier than in 2016. That figure is also due to the excellent results of August, which crossed the threshold of 135,000 TEU, registering a 20% increase compared to the previous year. Growth continued in the following months. In October, a new traffic record was set for the terminal, with 145,249 TEU moved. That is 0.1% more than the September 2017 record, but compared to October 2016 the terminal grew by 18.3%.
The terminal has been equipped to make the flow of goods smoother. “We opened the offices in early September, for an investment of €3.5 million,” PSA-Sinport’s managing director for Italy, Gilberto Danesi, stated. “This has made the jobs of operators, shippers and hauliers more bearable, and they also have better accessibility. The area has been equipped with dedicated interactive computer terminals. We also have a single point of contact for freight forwarders, the CSP Consortium.” This latter transition, of course, resulted in some discontent. But Danesi says: “The real problem is that with all due respect we can no longer deal with companies of artisanal dimensions. Fragmentation hurts us. This is why we have made the transition to the consortium from using a multitude of forwarding agents. We couldn’t have ten operators in different offices. Now everything is concentrated and this also makes greater labour security possible.”
The investment in the freight office is part of a €250 million modernization project, centred on the expansion of the dock cranes, as well as the terminal site: “Eight new state-of-the-art quay cranes, new fenders and bollards, the extension of the reefer park, the renovation of the site railway and many other technological innovations are allowing VTE to excel in the global maritime transport market. The results are proving us correct. The volume of traffic has continually increased in 2017. New services are calling at our terminal with ships of dimensions that were unthinkable just two years ago. We are now able to handle 15,000-TEU ships and beyond without issue, day and night.”
The overall balance with the new cranes, one year after the first ones entered service, has been positive: Danesi said, “The new cranes have a yield higher than we expected, allowing us to make 29 moves per hour, versus 23 moves per hour before. In addition, we will also introduce further automated vehicles, such as automatic gearboxes and parking sensors, which will allow us to further improve our productivity.”
But all this is still not enough. Today VTE is declaring a time frame of about 45 minutes for a lorry’s tunaround (gate in/gate out). A further improvement will be possible when drivers can notify the terminal of their arrival in advance. “The problem for ports like Genoa is that lorries do not give any warning. In other ports a pre-announcement system is already in place. In Italy, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport is dealing with DCX, the company that manages the port telematics platform. The arrival of large ships, which means handling 7,500 TEU at a time, creates a much higher workload than in the past, when perhaps 2,000 TEU would be moved. Either we plan the work better, or we will suffer. We need pre-announcement, especially in Genoa.”
Another difficult problem is the railway. The FSIs have made a commitment to double the number of exit tracks from the terminal in 2018, but Danesi is not yet ready to pass judgement: “It’s a twenty-year old request, we must wait to see what happens. We are also awaiting the improvement of the station outside the port, which will be able to receive trains over 700m long, versus the current 600m. This will make it possible to broaden our offering.”