De Rosa (SMET): “politics put the port of Salerno back at the center.”

De Rosa (SMET): “politics put the port of Salerno back at the center.”

This first part of 2024 has been marked by new tensions and critical issues, especially on the international scene, leading to a new phase of economic instability and uncertainty. Italy, in particular, is being hurt by tensions in the Red Sea and the de facto closure of the Suez sea route. “Our defense must protect those seas and our ships, making that strip viable again,” warns Domenico De Rosa, CEO of logistics firm SMET. “When shipowners decide to circumnavigate Africa rather than go through Suez, Italy loses so much, especially the ports in southern Italy. The defense of those areas from pirate assaults and terrorist attacks is absolutely central and becomes essential from a strategic point of view.”

De Rosa’s warning, issued as early as earlier this year, seems to be increasingly relevant. “More than 90 percent of goods, travel on the sea,” recalls the SMET CEO. “Having such an important stretch of sea, such as the Suez, which has already been abandoned by half of the world’s shipping because of the riskiness of that stretch, magnifies the economic risks for our country, as well as for our own seafarers. For this, De Rosa believes it is crucial to thank the Navy, “which is protecting Italian (and other) shipping in that stretch of sea, which has become dangerous because of the war between Hamas and Israel.” For this, De Rosa applauds the actions put in place by Defense Minister Guido Crosetto, who has given priority to mitigating the problems in the Red Sea.

From the international conjuncture, then, we turn to the Salerno area. And here, things are no better. On the contrary. If we add to this difficult situation the certified contraction of trade flows at the port of Salerno between January and December 2023, a complex panorama emerges, and one on which policy must necessarily intervene. Domenico De Rosa pointed out that in the past year the number of containers and goods entering and leaving the port has dropped significantly. “Containers have dropped by 4.4 percent and Ro-Ro units by 6.1 percent,” the Salerno entrepreneur recalled. “A large part of the economy of the entire Salerno province, the region and the South of Italy passes through our port. And The data in the latest report prepared by the Central Tyrrhenian Port Authority still does not include the adverse effects of the escalation of the conflict in the Middle East,” recalls the SMET CEO. “It is more necessary than ever to encourage trade recovery through ad hoc policies undertaken by the relevant institutions and authorities.  A contraction in flows, such as that noted for 2023, inevitably means a limitation of our productive and commercial capacity. In a general context of great difficulties,” De Rosa concludes, “everything possible must be done to avoid even heavier impacts on entrepreneurs and citizens. Now is the time to act and find, immediately, concrete solutions. We must start by strengthening the role of the port of Salerno on the freeways of the sea, which are the beating heart of commercial traffic in Europe.” And the SMET CEO concludes, “there is no time to lose.”