CENTRO INTERNAZIONALE STUDI CONTAINERS
ANNO XXXVIII - Numero LUGLIO 2020
PREDECESSOR AND SUCCESSOR
How do you explain the events in Trieste to foreign partners, Mr
"At the beginning of June Zeno D'Agostino, the
president of Italy's Port Network Authority of the Eastern
Adriatic Sea, who has been in office since November 2016, was
deposed. Mario Sommariva was appointed temporary managing
commissioner in his place. In Trieste, the new (and now old)
commissioner explained to ITJ reporter Kerstin Kloss why he was
more than happy to relinquish his post again."
Anac -the Autorità nazionale anticorruzione, our national
anticorruption authority - misinterpreted a law on the compatibility
of various public tasks. I want to make it clear that this had
nothing to do with corruption at all, but was related exclusively to
Zeno D'Agostino was the chairman of the entity Trieste Terminal
Passeggeri, a cruise-terminal operator that manages cruise services
in the gateway. The port authority owns 40% of the shares therein,
but it has no power. Thus in our opinion this task wasn't in
conflict with his role as port president. Anac was of the opinion
that he shouldn't have been appointed port president. The strange
thing is that he was appointed five years ago, but it only turned
out to be relevant now, five months before Mr D'Agostino's mandate
was set to come to an end.
Can you explain why the port president had to leave his post now
- in the midst of the downturn triggered by government measures to
contain the outbreak of Covid-19, which was a particularly difficult
period for Italy?
No, I can't explain it at all, really; I'm just happy that we
placed our faith in the country's judiciary. An administrative court
tried the case at the end of June and its verdict allowed Mr
D'Agostino to return to his post.
Did you ever doubt his return?
We knew we'd win in court in the end. Both Mr D'Agostino
personally as well as the port authority filed a lawsuit in the Rome
administrative court. After the court suspended Anac's decision,
there were no more barriers to his return. We expected a verdict on
24 June; in the end the decision was taken on 30 June.
What was transport minister Paola de Micheli's position?
She was clearly on our side from the very beginning. My interim
appointment emphasised her great overall confidence in Mr
D'Agostino's work over the past five years. The measures she has
taken show that she recognises his abilities, sincerity and vision.
Wouldn't you, with your in-depth knowledge of the logistics
sector, actually be the ideal new port president?
No, no, no! There's no alternative to Mr D'Agostino. I'm the
authority's secretary general and, as its acting director, I was
only in charge of maintaining port operations until Mr D'Agostino's
return. My personal role wasn't all that important, really.
Zeno and I have a joint project to develop this port as well as
the overall port compound. Our task is to create jobs and to
innovate, for new opportunities for young people. As long as I have
enough strength and energy I'll support this project. That's all.
What key projects are in the pipeline for future implementation?
We've got three important infrastructure development projects on
the table at the moment. The first one is to close the Arvedi
Group's Servola steel factory and to develop it into a container
terminal, most likely. Secondly, the site of a former oil factory is
set to be re-dedicated as a multipurpose terminal. And thirdly, the
old port of Trieste will be used for cruise ships as soon as
measures to contain the outbreak of Covid-19 end.
Did Mr D'Agostino's temporary removal have any negative impact
on Italy's port system as a whole?
Yes, there was some negative fallout. The impact on Italy's port
system is that it's difficult for us to explain to people observing
the process from abroad what actually happened. That's why every
port in Italy supported us with its solidarity, including industry
A short portrait of Mario Sommariva
63-year-old Genoa-born Mario Sommariva has more than 40 years of
experience in shipping, ports and logistics. He has worked in
various positions for the Filt Cgil transport union, amongst many
Before becoming secretary general of the Port Network Authority
of the Eastern Adriatic Sea in Trieste in 2015, he held a similar
position in the port of Bari for eight years.
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