February 6th 2015 Contship Italia Group’s La Spezia Container Terminal (LSCT), following the lead of the MEGA-HUB in Gioia Tauro, received the largest ever containership to call at a regional gateway port in Italy.
Since 1971, Contship has served in La Spezia as a conduit for Italian markets and is now increasingly extending its reach as a gateway to Switzerland, Southern Europe and beyond.
Weighing in at precisely 242,331.60 displacement tonnes, the 399 m LOA containership berthed at Fornelli East with two tugs at 12.43 hours, where operations started soon after, at 13.02 hours.
MSC London comfortably exceeds all other ship sizes that regularly call in La Spezia, the largest of which are typically 366 m in length and 52 m in breadth. LSCT usually operate without any restrictions on ships of 20 rows across, whereas with a breadth of 54 m, the outer seaside row was planned to be avoided on this occasion. With this exception, the terminal is able respond to the needs of the operations. From the second half of 2015, 2 x 23 row new cranes, manifactured in China following a project by OMG MGM, will be in service on Fornelli East and all future new crane order’s will be capable of reaching at least 23 rows ensuring that LSCT is well positioned for the future.
LSCT Managing Director, Michele Giromini explains “…regional gateway terminals are reacting to the accelerated pace of larger ship size deployment by global shipping lines. Size, capacity, technical innovation, network costs, have all contributed to the ordering of larger ships. Just a few years ago, it was perhaps inconceivable that an Italian regional port would receive a 350 m containership. Now the LSCT team is operating a 400 m ship and we have to understand when these kinds of ships will become the standard or not? I say when, rather than if, as in reviewing the evolution of ship sizes, the La Spezia System has experienced a rapid growth in the number ULCC ship calls of late and this is set to continue to increase.
The first 14,000 TEUs ship to call here was in February 2011, since when we have been operating these ships on a weekly basis. The arrival of new networks, shortly, will provide a second weekly call of 14,000 TEUs ships and it is understood that another customer is planning to deploy a number of 13,000 TEUs ships during the second half of 2015. In co-operation with our partners here in La Spezia, we are sure that the response to the extensive investment plans creating significant improvements in infrastructure has enabled the La Spezia System to keep pace with the needs of our valued customers. For the moment, and in not wishing to be disrespectful as we know and readily accept that there is a choice, but continuously La Spezia responds to support customer needs and I think that I am correct in stating that the port of La Spezia is the only regional Italian gateway in the main West – East arterial trade lanes that currently possesses the infrastructure to operate 2 x ULCC ships simultaneously. Within a few months, this capability will be enhanced further as 2 x 14,000 TEUs ships will be able to be operated simultaneously. Thanks to our shareholders for having the confidence to invest, thanks for the La Spezia System for improving the infrastructure, also ensuring that cargo flows, efficiently, but most of all thanks to our customers for entrusting an Italian regional port to take care of their needs. Ready for the Future,Today.”