Contship Italia, a container terminal and intermodal operator, is celebrating its 50th anniversary in the face of ongoing change. Marketing and communications director Daniele Testi talked Christian Doepgen through the firm’s entrepreneurial strategy.
First things first, Mr Testi – congratulations, Contship, for 50 successful years!
Thank you! This anniversary provides us with the perfect opportunity to feel proud about what we’ve achieved so far with our inheritance from our founder Angelo Ravano; we would not be where we are today without the group’s whole team driving our business forward.
In what direction does Contship want to develop?
Optimising operations is the key to progress. Contship is focusing its activities more on integrated port-to-door solutions. However, this is not the reason why we divested in Gioia Tauro. We’re proud of having created the largest Italian hub for transhipment over the last 25 years.
Where are you set to further fortify your activities in future?
Our approach is becoming more international; we’ll invest inside and outside Italy, also to put us in a better position to absorb the overall risks. We’re set to spend EUR 200 million on our La Spezia container terminal, to increase its total capacity to 2 million teu annually and to bring the railway’s share of the modal split up to 50%. Demand is rising, thanks also to improved intermodal connections.
What advantages do you offer carriers serving the Far East – Europe trades?
We’re fortifying Europe’s southern gateway. Besides La Spezia we’re optimising the port of Ravenna too. This gateway offers opportunities to and from Eastern Mediterranean littoral states, including Cyprus, Egypt and Israel, especially for temperature-sensitive goods. This is a stopover for exporters and importers in the cool chain.
What about the on-forwarding of goods?
Our dry port in Melzo near Milan is a valuable logistics interface to distribute goods all across Europe. It’s also a station on the freight train route from Chengdu (China) to Duisport (Germany). The first test runs have now been completed and the next step is to establish regular links with this solution.
What options is Contship investing in from an international perspective?
We’ve been involved in international activities from the very beginning. Till today, our concept of integrating terminal and intermodal activities has been successfully tried and tested. We’re happy to apply our know-how in the port of Tangier (Morocco), where we’ve increased our stake, specifically in the hub’s container terminal 3, which can handle 1.5 million teu. According to a recent study paper by the analyst Oxford Economics, North Africa is set to register annual growth of 3 – 5% on average over the next few years.
What approach will you focus on in future?
Offering our clients efficiency is crucial. We offer carriers product diversification and shippers better risk management. The benefits you get is a reduction in inventory costs and transit times. Moreover, we keep looking at any business opportunity in and outside Italy.