THE PORT of Livorno has a long tradition in the area of fruit and vegetable and refrigerated traffic. Now, after the transformative phase that has seen the transition from traditional cargo ships to reefer containers, there are three facilities that accommodate this type of traffic: Terminal Dock Tuscany (TDT), with its outlets for the storage of refrigerated containers; the Livorno reefer terminal (LRT), created in 2011 to accommodate traditional cargo ships but now oriented mainly towards the hinterland; and the Vespucci Freight Village, which houses 10,000sqm of refrigerated warehouses. When a reefer container arrives, it first passes through the quayside area equipped with over a hundred electrical outlet positions, then it is moved onward, either to nearby facilities like LRT and Vespucci, or directly to the destination markets of Central and Northern Italy. So it is not unusual for the Port System Authority of the Northern Tyrrhenian Sea, which represents the ports of Livorno and Piombino, to be present in Berlin.
Gabriele Gargiulo, the director of the AdSP’s marketing department, explained, “We will be in Berlin from 6 to 8 February, as in previous years. On February 7 at 11am, we will hold a workshop with TDT-GIP at our stand in pavilion 25, together with shipping companies, forwarders and LRT. There is strong interest in this sector. We will be present to converse with other operators, supplementing our institutional marketing with the Tuscan port operators’ commercial marketing.”
How has the sector changed?
“In the 1990s, fruit and vegetables travelled on traditional cargo ships, which had their own dedicated docks. The major groups were distributed across the ports of the Tyrrhenian Sea, with Dole in Livorno, Chiquita in Genoa, Delmonte in Savona and Bonita in Salerno. Then we switched from traditional ships to containers. Nowadays very little cargo arrives in the holds of cargo ships, which in Livorno come to the Reefer terminal, and are primarily from South America. The terminal warehouse is near the public docks.”
What types of products pass through the port of Livorno?
“Mostly bananas, but also pineapples and seasonal fruit, such as pears, apples and grapes from South America. The largest volumes are in the season from February to May. The destinations are Italy, mainly North-East and Central Italy, and some goods also travel elsewhere in Europe. It’s all import traffic, with Italian exports traveling by land.”
What plans does the port have for the refrigerated sector?
“New warehouses will be built at the freight village for frozen products (-18 degrees). In the first phase, about three or four thousand square meters of refrigerated warehouses will be built, with the potential of further expansion.”
Does Livorno already have any such facilities?
“For the time being we have storage facilities for fruit and other perishable goods. If the project goes ahead, ripening warehouses and packaging plants will also be built. In Livorno there is the possibility for expansion because the space is available. The operators already have areas in concession to expand the facilities, but if it is not enough we will consider equipping other areas of the port and the freight village.”
How large is the Port System Authority’s stake in the Vespucci freight village?
“We are currently at 10%, but there is a plan to increase the stake to over 30% in the coming months. We consider the Vespucci to be a true freight village and so we market it at the fairs in combination with the port.”