Contship Italia is selling a 50 percent stake in the company that controls the troubled Gioia Tauro container transshipment terminal in southern Italy to an affiliate of Mediterranean Shipping.
Italy’s largest port operator didn’t say how much Terminal Investment Ltd. is paying for half of CSM Italia-Gate, which owns 66.7 percent of the Medcenter Container Terminal.
Gioia Tauro, which ranked among Europe’s top five container hubs until a few years ago, is struggling to recoup traffic lost after Maersk Line, its biggest customer accounting for 25 percent of traffic, ceased Asia-Europe transshipment services in July.
Following the transaction, Medcenter’s ownership will be split equally between Contship Italia, Terminal Investment Ltd, and APM Terminals, a sister company of Maersk Line owned by Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk. Netherlands-based Terminals Investment, which claims a “unique” relationship with Mediterranean Shipping, annually handles around 15 million 20-foot equivalent units at terminals in 16 countries worldwide.
“I am very satisfied. The entry of Terminal Investment and the partnership with APM Terminals contribute to further reinforce the terminal commercially and organizationally in order to face the challenges of a difficult environment in global container shipping,” said Contship Italia Group president Cecilia Eckelmann-Battistello.
MSC is Gioia Tauro’s biggest customer after Maersk switched transshipment to Malta’s Freeport Terminal, reducing its presence to a single feeder link to the northwest Italian port of Genoa.
Gioia Tauro handled 1.3 million TEUs in the first half of 2011. Traffic had fallen to 2.85 million TEUs in 2010 from 3.4 million TEUs in 2007.
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