Oil, links with the East and the domino effect. What happens if the port of Trieste stops

The 23 March the Ever Given ship of the Evergreen company ran aground in the Suez Canal. A giant 400 meters long and 59 wide which for days blocked one of the most important routes for maritime transport. The accident generated losses for million euros and a decline in reliability for shipping. All effects that could be repeated the October 15, when the workers of the port of Trieste will start the strike against the Green pass. The government mediation, which convinced the port companies to pay for tampons for employees without vaccines, was of no use. If in the next 24 ore an agreement will not be reached, one of the most important ports for Italy could stop working.

The data of the port of Trieste

Transport by sea still has a great impact on the Italian goods exchange system. Starting from Istat data and comparing them with those of Assoporti, in 2020 the Italian market recorded a total 136.5 million tons of imports e 66.5 million tons of exports. Understanding the weight that maritime transport has in this system is easy: they have passed through Italian ports 72.5 million tons of goods in import and 27.8 million tons in export. Only in the port of Trieste, again in 2020, they passed over 54 million tons of goods, a sum in which, however, the goods that arrived in Trieste and then moved to Europe are also counted. In fact, the port of Trieste is also the point of connection between two regions: Asia and Eastern Europe. Goods departing from Asia and moving to Hungary, Poland or the Czech Republic also pass through here.

Trieste also has another feature that makes it unique for Italian logistics: the type of goods that pass through here. In first half of 2021, Trieste was the first Italian port for the passage of “Liquid Bulk”, a formula that in engineering jargon defines all the material that arrives with unpackaged cargo in liquid form: in practice, oil. This is why Trieste is ranked among the most important Energy Ports in the country. Just for comparison: in first six months of 2021 in Trieste they have passed 37.5 million tons of liquid bulk. After this port comes that of Augusta, in the province of Syracuse, with just under 23 million tons.

Federlogistica: “The reliability of a port is built over the years”

Luigi Merlo is the president of Federlogistica, the sector association that brings together companies that deal with freight transport in Italy. Reached by Open on the phone, he explains what the consequences of the strike decided by the Trieste dockers could be: «The image element is very delicate for a port and this strike can have disastrous consequences. After the pandemic we are witnessing a rebirth of the maritime sector, ports in the United States and Asia are very crowded and we risk accumulating delays in distribution ». Merlo is critical of the positions of the dockers: “The government had convinced the companies to pay the tampons: it is not clear why this obstinacy should be created”. Also on Open you can find an interview with Stefano Puzzel, the spokesman for the port workers.

Vaccines and announcements: the situation in other Italian ports

In the last hours it seemed that the strike of the port of Trieste would have created a domino effect also in the other Italian ports. To support this thesis were precisely the statements of the workers’ representation: “The block on Friday is confirmed, today there will be surprises because not only the port of Trieste will stop”. At the moment, no confirmations have yet arrived from the other sea ports. On the contrary. In the ports of Puglia and Campania, various sources have explained that the percentage of vaccinated dockers is close to 100%. In Genoa, some companies have accepted the Trieste compromise: they will pay tampons to employees without vaccines. For Genoa, however, Uil Trasporti explained that from Friday there could be problems with hauliers: according to the data in the hands of the union, the 30% of them would not yet be vaccinated.

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