ITALY's Taranto Port Authority has revoked the control of Hong Kong's Hutchison Port Holdings over the Taranto Container Terminal Company (TCT), after a long period of steady decline in the face of regional competition, reports Alphaliner.
In the heel of the Italian boot, the Taranto terminal reached its peak in 2006 with a volume of 892,000 TEU, but that fell to 148,500 TEU in 2014.
That was its low point since it opened in 2001 on a 60-year lease. Then Evergreen had a 90 per cent before Hutchison took 50 per cent, which gave it controlling interest in 2008 in exchange for Evergreen taking a minority stake in London Thamesport and Rotterdam's European Container Terminal.
Despite Evergreen's patronage, Taranto suffered from intense competition from Gioia Tauro, on the other side of the heel, Marsaxlokk in Malta, Cagliari in Sardinia and Port Said on Egypt's Med side, all of which required shorter diversions.
Then Evergreen's loyalty was tested to the breaking point when its new CKYHE Alliance partners opted for Piraeus and the Taiwanese carrier joined them, only offering a feeder service from Piraeus. Even that ended in 2014 and there has not been a regular box ship caller since.
Nonetheless, Taranto will continue upgrading port facilities. Dredging will deepen water alongside to 16.5 metres and then enlarge the turning basin. It also plans a breakwater to protect the quay from the swell.
The port authority plans to find a new concessionaire to run the 93-hectare site with its 1,500-metre quay line with an annual capacity of two million TEU.
Source : HKSG.