14 February 13

Aim for evolution not revolution

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port terminalRO-RO

Re-engineering the role of a terminal after the departure of its principal client is no easy job. All the more so, when the terminal competed in a niche context in the competitive arena of Mediterranean container transhipment operations.

But as the saying goes ‘where there is a will there is a way’.

The example of International Terminal Services Augusta (ITSA) is interesting in this respect. Equipped with two heavy duty mobiles along its 300m quay in the port of Augusta on the east coast of the island of Sicily, the terminal has looked for resolution to its problems by diversifying its focus into several business areas.

ITSA is now progressively becoming recognised as a ro-ro port with connecting services to/from Salerno/Malta looking to develop ro-ro services to Libya as well as other destinations. The terminal has also proved its ability to handle project cargo including sensitive wind farm materials.

It has also not lost confidence in its ability to rejoin the container business. In this respect, key terminal executives point out: “We have a newly installed draft of 14/14.5m at our Terminal 1 site. The Port Authority of Augusta is supporting us and soon the construction of Terminal 2 will start under a €145.33m aid package from Italy which has all the necessary EU approvals and clearances.” This aid package will also provide for the upgrade of Terminal 1 and the installation of new ship-to-shore cranes.

ITSA and the Port Authority of Augusta do not expect ‘revolution’ in business terms but ‘evolution’. Their strengths are all the natural ones of location and a ‘clean slate’ for a liner operator to walk into and tailor terminal services to its requirements. Underpinning this, however, is the base versatility of ITSA and a strong vision of the future coupled with a port authority which recognises that flexibility is key to success.

It is the resilience of the terminal operator which is striking; progressively, this is translating into bringing new business into the port including brand names such as Grimaldi. The ITSA strategy nevertheless does not exclude joining with a terminal operating partner if such a move is able to further accelerate the company’s development.

Source: portstrategy.com