West Sicily Gate, the newco composed of the companies Msc Cruise and Costa Cruises, will manage the cruise terminals of the port of Palermo and of the other ports that fall within the competence of the Western Sicilian Sea Authority, i.e. Termini Imerese, Trapani and Porto Empedocle.
In 2019, Msc Cruise and Costa Cruises requested the Port Authority for a 30-year state-owned maritime concession for docks for the mooring of cruise ships, for the reception of their passengers and for carrying out terminal activities for cruise passengers embarking, disembarking and transit in the ports of Palermo, Termini Imerese, Trapani and Porto Empedocle, and the authorization to set up a project company, with equal shares, in the form of a limited liability company, for the management of the concession.
The request was published and, subsequently, an investigation commission carried out the comparison and evaluation operations between the requests received: the one presented by Msc Cruise and Costa Cruises was found to be the closest to the public interest pursued. After the legal verifications, the concession was entrusted to the two companies established in the West Sicily Gate.
“The signing of the concession title constitutes the last act of a complex administrative procedure, which aims to implement cruise traffic in the ports of the Western Sicily network”. Thus we read in a note from the Port Authority, which granted in exclusive use, the Crispi quay, the Vittorio Veneto quay and the Sammuzzo quay, the adjacent areas and the appurtenances belonging to the maritime state property. In the port of Termini Imerese, however, non-exclusive use of the Veniero quay and the adjacent areas belonging to the maritime state property.
“The birth of the new company, West Sicily Gate – explained the president Pasqualino Monti – is the culmination of a great job carried out by our Authority with effort, dedication, tenacity and passion. It is as if today a new course has started, an awaited new deal. Welcoming the latest generation of large ships to Palermo in a redeveloped and dredged port, therefore with adequate depths, and equipped with accommodation facilities appropriate to our ambitions, was unthinkable until a few years ago: it is really difficult, finally looking at the works created, to imagine as our ports were just three years ago. In terms of implementation times and results, we are faced with an Italian-style miracle that comes from the south and is proposed to international markets as a winning project. The goodness of the operation is demonstrated by the figures: despite Covid, from 1 January 2022, we will have growing numbers: as many as 176 will be the expected berths of Costa and Msc out of a total of 226 touched, including the other companies that will finally reappear in the Mediterranean “.
“The goal is to triple the number of cruise passengers over the next few years compared to 2018, the year in which we touched 600,000 units, making our calls a mix of modernity in the provision of services and excellence in hospitality. . And working so that the West Sicily Gate can carry out the ambitious projects it has set itself and which concern not only the increase in passengers but also the commitment so that our ports become home ports, creating that additional inducement made up of passengers who they reach the city by plane and spend a few days here before embarking for the start of the cruise “.
According to Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises, “the ports of western Sicily are destined to become one of the main hubs of MSC in the Mediterranean. Next year we plan to touch Palermo with our most modern and technologically advanced ships and environmental “. While for Beniamino Maltese, councilor of the board of directors West Sicily Gate srl, executive vice president and CFO of Costa Cruises, he announced: “In 2022 we have already planned about 90 stopovers in Palermo with the most innovative ships in our fleet”.