Italian shipping specialist Grimaldi Lines has launched a new ro-ro service between the port of Livorno on Italy’s west coast and the Sicilian industrial port of Catania. The service, which will employ two vessels to support the twice-weekly route, will also make calls at Malta and Genoa.
The vessels – the Eurocargo Malta and Eurocargo Genova ­– which were delivered to Grimaldi this summer, have a loading capacity of around 4,000 metres and the company has six further ro-ro ships on order with similar capacity, for deployment on services in Europe and the Mediterranean. With a total surface of 11,550m2 the two vessels can accommodate a different mix of cargo intake aided by hoistable decks. According to Grimaldi their intake allows up 900 cars and 3,000 linear metres of roro, even if the total cargo intake is up 3,850 lane metres.
The company is also planning to launch a twice-weekly Livorno-Valencia ro-pax service in November.
The latest announcement gives substance to Grimaldi’s comments last week that the reason it had pulled out of its joint venture service with LD Lines between Saint Nazaire in southern France and Gijon in northern Spain is because it wants to concentrate on its core business of moving cars and remain committed to its Motorways of the Seas services in the Mediterranean, Baltic and Adriatic (read more here).
“Shortsea shipping has improved a lot over the past decade, attracting the attention of carmakers,” Grimaldi’s logistics director Costantino Baldissara told Automotive Logistics News. “The availability of a capillary shortsea network grants important savings to OEMs, by reducing their inventory costs, and more and more is offering good alternatives to road deliveries, in compliance with EU environmental projects which aim to shift cargo from land to sea.”
The announcement of increased activity at the port of Livorno also builds on that port’s strong showing in automotive movements through a difficult time for the industry. Last year Livorno bucked the downward trend for finished vehicle movements that European ports were experiencing last year and showed a combined increase of just over 6.3%, with 463,877 vehicles moved.
“Livorno plays a very important role in automotive trades as well as in our Group network,” added Baldissara. “Moreover, Genoa-Catania already represents an important role in Italian cabotage, linking the more important North Italian port, and its back industrial area to a region which is populated by more than 5m inhabitants.”
The port terminals handling automotive, including the Leonardo Da Vinci and Livorno Est terminals, are both operated by CILP (Compagnia Impresa Lavoratori Portuali),