Corona-Restart: Mediterranean ports in strong competitive position

Customers of a. hartrodt in Central Europe and Southern Germany benefit from shorter transit times.

How quickly the Mediterranean ports recover from the Corona effects is also depending on whether they can further increase their attractiveness for shippers in Southern Germany and Central Europe. "For sea freight from the Far East, the transit time is reduced by several days compared to the north-range ports in Rotterdam, Antwerp or Hamburg," says Alberto Verardo, Joint Managing Director at a. hartrodt italiana in Genoa. This is where a. hartrodt has its headquarters for the Mediterranean region and offers tailor-made solutions for every customer. Verardo points out that the southern ports "have invested a lot in hinterland connections and digitization".

Adriatic ports as gates to Central Europe

For Central European countries like Hungary, Austria or Slovakia, the Adriatic ports of Koper (Slovenia), Trieste (Italy) and Rijeka (Croatia) are "very important", reports Zoltán Peternics, Managing Director of a. hartrodt hungary in Budapest. Here, too, the decisive competitive advantage lies in shorter pre- and post-carriage times than in the north-range ports. Peternics gives Budapest as an example: Compared to Hamburg, the hinterland transport from Koper/Trieste reduces by half from 1,200 kilometres to 570 kilometres. Customers of a. hartrodt can save time and money.

Improvements necessary for rail and customs

Munich is about 200 kilometres closer to Koper/Trieste than to Hamburg, but according to Peternics, German shippers still mainly use "their own ports". What would need to change that? There are still too few direct transalpine trains, such as between Trieste and Munich, and instead there are numerous building sites on the international rail links of the Mediterranean ports. Germany is also under criticism here because the northern access to the Brenner Base Tunnel might not be completed until between 2040 and 2050. Verardo also calls on Italian customs to improve the competitiveness of the Mediterranean ports: "Customs clearance takes too long and cancels out shorter transit times".

Verardo expects that the transhipment hubs in the Mediterranean will recover fastest from the Corona crisis. There, containers are transferred to other ships. Apart from the largest Mediterranean port in Piraeus (Greece), Valencia and Algeciras in Spain or Gioia Tauro (Italy) are also strongly positioned with regard to transhipment.