Smet’s CEO, Domenico De Rosa, had already announced in January that 2021 would be the year of rebirth after an annus horribilis not to be forgotten. The Covid emergency has certainly put the entire logistics and transport sector in a new light, and in recent months it has earned the applause and praise (as well as television commercials from the former Ministry of Transport). For De Rosa, relaunching the sector is a question of investment, and this is where Smet intends to play its part, strengthening a system such as intermodality which, according to his analysis, will soon become indispensable. A policy that has the dual purpose of cutting costs and protecting the staff involved from Covid contagion risks, making it the real bulwark for sustainable mobility.
«In the mid-1990s, the SMET Group pioneered the development of intermodal maritime and rail transport,” said De Rosa during an interview, “which is still a top priority for us today. Today we move over three thousand vehicles per week on our ships, in addition to 16 company trains, also per week. 2021 will be a turning point for intermodal transport, thanks to the arrival of the Grimaldi Group’s giant ecological ships, which will revolutionise ro-ro traffic and the organisation of transport along the Tyrrhenian coast. We anticipate a rapid growth in intermodal traffic and we are organising ourselves accordingly: we have already ordered 1000 additional semi-trailers and expect to take on around 200 new recruits. At the same time we are giving a strong boost to rail intermodality. In January, in partnership with TX Logistics of the Mercitalia Group, we inaugurated the rail service for semi-trailers from Bologna Interporto to the TKN North Terminal in Cologne».
Intermodality is also a key policy of Europe, which has set 2050 as the deadline for cutting CO2 emissions and creating real sustainable mobility, a project widely supported by the current Prime Minister Draghi.
«The European Commission’s current demands for ecological and sustainable neutrality are by 2050 for all member states,” continues De Rosa, “The progress of transport already has a clear and precise deadline, 30 years before the indicated date, so everyone will have to ensure that freight mobility converges towards a modal shift. Because we have realised that this is the recipe for zero emissions. Of course, intermodal transport alone is not enough, and that’s why, together with Iveco, we started a dialogue years ago on the subject of alternative drives. One example is the use of LNG, liquefied gas, instead of diesel. Today, we are in the early stages of hydrogen and full electric drives. All these implementations will be the basis for achieving carbon neutrality».
Finally, intermodality as a means of reducing the risk of contagion in the Covid era.
«We have an advantage with intermodality when we reduce the mobility of people,” concludes the entrepreneur, “The virus travels with people. If we are able to limit travel and have only the assets, i.e. the trailers, we have in fact avoided the risks of human transfer. We can therefore say that intermodality, as of today, considering transport indispensable for maintaining a socio-economic order, is the best system for achieving Covid-free».