The new port-rails integration project in Italy

The Italian railway network (RFI – FS Italian Group), together with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, has started an ambitious project which will,within the following five years, lead to a real revolution of Italian logistical systems, with an overall investment that reaches one billion euros. The aim of the project is to increase connections between the national railway network with ports, transfer points, terminals and logistic hubs, in order to achieve a structural improvement of Italy’s logistical system.

These improvements are particularly necessary because of the peculiar conformation of the Italian port system, which consists of many port facilities disseminated all along the Italian coasts, mostly lacking an adequate connection system to railways. This causes unavoidable delays and inconveniences, which underlines the necessity for adequate links between ports, rails and highways, particularly, as pertains to the transport of containers, moreover the growth in size of commercial ships, together with the search for economies of growing scale, will, in the future, place even even higher pressure on land links.

The project is developed through several agreements among RFI and the competent port authorities, some of which have been already concluded. The most recent of which was signed on the  6th of April between RFI and the port authority of Naples, which is fundamental for the transport of goods from the Mediterranean Sea to the rest of Italy, with the aim to connect the port of Naples to the rail system through the creation of a rail terminals in the Eastern part of the port and a new station. The agreement, underlined by Maurizio Gentile, RFI CEO and GM, “is the first example in Italy on how to use interports to switch over ship and rail transports. In such way, the interports of the Campania Region in Italy will become real ‘land ports’, with the implementation of fast rail connections to the Seaport of Naples”.

The agreement signed between the port authorities of Venice and Chioggia should also be remembered, as their development is particularly significant on account of the fact that they intercept the major European corridors, such as the Mediterranean (which links the Iberian Peninsula to the boundary of Eastern Europe and passes through the Turin-Trieste line) and the Baltic-Adriatic corridor (which links major Italian ports, Venice included, to Austria and Northern European markets).

Furthermore, the agreement among RFI, the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region of Italy and the port authority of Trieste is also important, as it aims to improve connection to/from the port of Trieste, one on the main hubs of the Italian logistic system.

The ambitious project is also in continuance of the “strategies for transportation and logistics infrastructures” presented by the Ministry of Infrastructures and Transport, which foresees, on the overall, the development of the national system in terms of maintenance and infrastructure improvement; the European rail system integration, in accordance with the EU project of building single rail network; the integration of the national rail system with other transport infrastructures, in terms of service and investment planning, with the aim to build a multi-modal network improving the overall accessibility of the national network system and offering a network of integrated services.

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