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A smile from Po-faced Marcegaglia

The shipper says it is on course to move 50,000t of steel tubes on the Po navigation system in 2010
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Marcegaglia, one of Europe’s leading steel tube manufacturers, has reported that it will move 50,000t of steel products on Italy’s River Po navigation system, between its Ravenna and Mantova (Gazoldo degli Ippoliti) plants, in 2010.

This is the first full year for Marcegaglia using the inland waterway instead of trucking between these two facilities. Transit time is 24h. Each sailing, using Omnia River’s fluvio-maritime vessel città di mantova, can transport 1200t of steel coils - the equivalent of 30 truck loads.

Inland water mode has been made possible by the opening of the Mantova-Ravenna navigable class V canal (Fissero-Tarataro-“White Canal”). città di mantova, measuring 40m long by 9m wide and drawing 2.55m, is classed for Adriatic and Black Sea transports.

Marcegaglia is keen to build on the promising results of 2010 and traffic opportunities will arise as output of its Ravenna installations is planned to increase by 1 mtpa in the short term. It is planning an extra weekly departure each way (ie three) between Mantova and Ravenna accordingly.

In European terms, Italy is a big country, but it is “long and thin” with a mountainous spine; the rivers flow mostly east-west and are shallow and short. The longest river, the Po, in the northern plain, is short compared to, say, the Rhine, Seine or Rhône systems, but nevertheless accounts for around 0.5 mtpa of freight, because it meanders through the country’s beating industrial heartlands.

US-based multinational Cargill, the agri-products giant, which owns Italy’s Pagnam, is planning to move up to 80,000 tpa of fertilisers (urea) between Venice (Chioggia) and Porto Valdaro (Mantova) on the Po navigation.

Wheat importer Viglienzone Adriatico SpA reportedly plans to move 100,000 tpa of Hungarian grain on the waterway. Other likely shipments in 2011 include wood pulp, salt and ethyl alcohol, from a number of shippers.

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