Manifesto for the port of Gioia Tauro: “The EU risks closing it”


By John

Local authorities, trade unions, entrepreneurs, the Port System Authority of the Southern Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas and the two main operators of the port, Medcenter Container Terminal SpA and Automar SpA, have issued a poster for the defense of the port of Gioia Tauro which will be the basis of a flash mob promoted for next October 16th in the port of Gioia Tauro, in which port workers, regional institutions, Calabrian mayors, trade unions, port companies, trade associations and the entire port community will participate to present a banner entitled “The port does not stop” and to attract the attention at national and European level on the risk of closure of the port of Gioia Tauro due to the European Directive 2023/959 ETS..

In the center of the document the EU directive on emissions which would penalize the airport. «Will Gioia Tauro close? Will the Italian institutions and politics – we read in the manifesto – be able to change the timing of the EU which, as part of the “Fit For 55″ package which requires the reduction of emissions into the atmosphere also in the maritime sector, has launched Directive no. 2023/959 ETS, which requires shipowners to annually offset the polluting emissions produced. This – it should be noted – is the question that today torments those who believe that Gioia Tauro could be at risk of closure in the space of a few months, or at least at risk of a drastic reduction in employment and investments, due to the new taxation which could conceivably induce shipping lines to move traffic to non-European ports”.

According to the writers of the manifesto «the danger is truly imminent, we are already reading the signs in the sector press and the lack of concrete sensitivity on this issue is worrying. The port of Gioia Tauro, the largest in Italy for transshipment which this year is preparing to set the record for container handling in its short but intense history, could return to being a desert, with the cranes dismantled and the ships headed towards competing ports located in North African countries, where the EU directive would not be applied or would apply only partially, in any case guaranteeing non-European ports a significant competitive advantage. Defending the environment from ongoing climate change – it is underlined – is a duty of nations and men, but we must do it all together by restarting the process of actions to be undertaken with the utmost responsibility. Because we cannot accept drastic measures in Europe to pollute less and no measures in the airports directly competing with the European ones, located on the other side of the Mediterranean basin”.

Accepting all this, it is written, «would mean not only not achieving the objectives set in Europe, but cclosing our eyes to illogical and irrational measures, with devastating consequences on the economic and employment level and above all on the logistical potential of Italy and Europe. What the port of Gioia Tauro represents today is there for all to see: almost 4 thousand direct and related employees, almost 50% of the Calabrian private GDP, the largest logistics platform in Italy and southern Europe, one of the largest port hubs in the Mediterranean. Seriously penalizing a fully relaunching port like Gioia Tauro would mean ruining Calabria and the South and weakening the entire country. And we maintain that attention must remain very high on this dramatic prospect. This is why we launch a new appeal to the national government, to the President of the Region, who among other things expressed himself with extreme clarity, to the Calabrian Regional Council, to all the Calabrian institutions, to the trade unions, to the Mayors, to the trade organisations, to the workers who work at the port, to the business system to increase the commitment to avoid the end of a strategic infrastructure for the future of the region where the highest percentage of unemployment in Italy is recorded, with the wounds of emigration which sees thousands of young people leaving this land every year. Escapes due to need and necessity which impoverish the life and existence of our territories.”

An appeal is launched to the parliamentary delegation, to the trade unions, to men of culture, to economists, «so that everyone in their own role intensifies the commitment to the defense of the port of Gioia Tauro and for a more organic and credible defense of the environment. Faced with these apocalyptic scenarios, we cannot hold back in seeking better solutions, in compliance with the energy transition, which are not lacking: the Port System Authority has summarily indicated them to the Government and the European institutions. For example, – we finally read – giving the same rules to Mediterranean ports that play the same game, having the same vocation for transhipment! Or the provision for European ports with a transshipment vocation, but also for territorial continuity ferries, of protection mechanisms in derogation of the Directive which provide for a tax exemption for sectors exposed to the risk of delocalisation”.