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  • Writer's pictureFirst Port Global (FPG)

Contship Italia closes CICT Cagliari

The decision to close follows Hapag-Lloyd’s decision last year to switch various services to TangerMed. CICT has been unable to replace this loss with new business

CICT (pictured left) has an installed capacity of around 2M TEU, but handled just 219,000 TEU last year and in the first five months of this year the count was down to 44,000 TEU.

In June, the shareholders, Contship Italia (92%) and Consorzio Cacip (8%) ratified the decision already taken by Contship Italia’s Executive Board to shut down operations, making 200 workers redundant.

The search for a new transhipment customer continued until March this year, when CMA CGM stated that Cagliari has good credentials, like Malta (its existing hub), but "at the moment we are not interested and maybe not for at least the next two years," which was a polite way of saying "no."

Contship Italia has also been trying to find alternative uses for the facility, but nothing resulted from this effort to encourage pursuing any particular type of cargo.

To buy itself some time to salvage the situation, the port authority (AdSP Cagliari), with the support of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport in Rome, has postponed sine die the legal forfeiture of the CICT concession, meaning that someone else could take it over without having to go through a tender process.

MSC has committed to invest €120M-€140M in Medcenter in the next few years
MSC has committed to invest €120M-€140M in Medcenter in the next few years

CICT Cagliari was Contship Italia’s last surviving transhipment operation in Italy. Earlier this year it conceded its 50% share of the troubled MCT Gioia Tauro terminal to its co-shareholder TIL, so the operation is now 100% controlled by MSC Group.

As reported in the April 2019 edition of WorldCargo News, it was rumoured that, in exchange, Contship Italia took over MSC’s 20% stake in Eurogate Tanger.

Both Eurogate Tanger and Eurogate Cyprus in Limassol are managed for Eurogate Group by its affiliate Contship Italia, so the group remains very active in the Mediterranean transhipment market.

OMG-Bedeschi STS cranes arriving in Limassol, Cyprus from Italy earlier this year
OMG-Bedeschi STS cranes arriving in Limassol, Cyprus from Italy earlier this year

The Cyprus terminal recently took delivery of two OMG-Bedeschi STS cranes. These were built in Italy and assembled in and shipped from the Port of Chioggia, near Venice, on an Augustea tug and barge chartered by OMG.

Meanwhile, eight new Kalmar straddle carriers have just arrived at MCT Gioia Tauro, as part of an order for 40 machines (not 32 as previously reported) worth more than €40M. The others will be delivered over the course of the summer.

At the moment TIL is dismantling three older STS cranes deemed no longer fit for purpose. The facility will shortly receive three Chinese-built STS cranes with a 23-wide outreach, with another three due to be delivered in December.

MSC’s relaunch plan, with which it had to satisfy the Italian government in order for the MCT concession to be kept alive, requires €120M-€140M of new investments, with a view to increasing annual throughput to 4M TEU within two years. The terminal handled 2.3M TEU last year.

Addendum 19th July – A fire broke out this morning on one of the cranes being dismantled at MCT Gioia Tauro. At the time of writing, firefighters are still at the scene. Nobody has been hurt, but damage to the structure cannot be assessed at this juncture.

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