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International Transport Forum Discussion Papers

ITF Discussion Papers make economic research, commissioned or carried out in-house at the International Transport Forum, available to researchers and practitioners. They describe preliminary results or research in progress by the author(s) and are published to stimulate discussion on a broad range of issues on which the ITF works.

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The Governance and Regulation of Ports

The Case of Italy

Italian ports handled approximately 460 million tonnes of cargo in 2012 according to the last statistical report of the Italian Association of Port Authorities1 (Assoporti, 2014). This is more or less the same amount as the port of Rotterdam alone. The cargo handled at the port of Antwerp – the second largest port in Europe – was equivalent to the amount of the biggest five Italian ports. This picture is illustrative of the current Italian port situation in which 24 Port Authorities (PAs), established by the port law (nr. 84/1994), are considered main national gateways even if most of them are only small ports compared to the main international competitors. Only four out of the 24 PAs surpassed the 30 million tonnes in 2012 and only 2 of them (Genoa and Trieste) have frequently handled more than 50 million tonnes in the last years. On the other hand, in 2012 passenger transit accounted for almost 40 million passengers, due to the role of home ports of some harbours in the cruise sector and few ferry terminals – mainly involved in the traffic to/from the islands – that make the National passenger statistics comparable with the main European competitors. Figure 1 shows the location of the Italian Port Authorities.

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