The Venice Offshore terminal is a project capable of turning a legal obligation into a leverage for growth and a physical limit into an opportunity, in fact:
- The Law for Safeguarding Venice (l. 798/84) imposes to bring the oil tankers out of the lagoon.
- The port of Venice will have nautical accessibility restrictions once the Mose system, designed to protect the city against high water, is in operation.
The Offshore project overtakes the legal obligation and the accessibility restriction associating the construction of a container terminal with the construction of a high-sea oil terminal.
A CHANCE WORTH SEIZING
With sea beds at 12-metre depth, the port of Venice can today accommodate ships up to 7000 TEUs, which is no longer enough to be competitive in the global shipping market that can count on ships up to 18,000 TEUs, already in operation, which will soon be overshadowed by 22,000-TEU ships, under construction. This perspective does not only place Venice, but also all the Italian ports, out of the market, based on the three parameters of nautical accessibility, port operating spaces and connecting infrastructures with port-related markets to serve. These three parameters can turn a modern port into an efficient hub of global logistic chains.
The Offshore terminal will be a strongly innovative, future-oriented “port machinery”, which will be able – also by virtue of its connection with multiple ports – to meet the market requirements of nautical accessibility and port operating spaces. That is why it is strategic for the growth of Venice, of Italy and of Europe.
Positioned 8 miles offshore, where the sea bottom is at least 20 metres deep, the offshore platform will be protected by a 4.2km long breakwater dam which will shelter an oil terminal and a container terminal able to accommodate up to three latest generation container ships at the same time. Along the quay with its modular development (1km long in the first stage, which can be increased up to 2km at a later stage) specially-made cranes and a highly automated system, able to ensure loading/unloading performances equal to those of the best worldwide terminals, will be accommodated.
The project provides for a synergic connection with 4 onshore terminals: Montesyndial (Marghera), Chioggia, Mantua and Porto Levante. The transfer of containers from ocean ships will be performed on LASH vessels, the so-called Mama Vessels,” especially designed for Venice, which exploit the compressed-air technology of the British Royal Navy submarines and the Archimedes’ principle to half travel time between the offshore platform and the onshore terminals.
The entire project – consisting of the onshore terminal and the offshore platform – was approved by the Higher Council of Public Works (by its special section overlooking any project dealing with the safeguarding of Venice and its lagoon, under law 5 May 1907) on 29 March 2012.
The project received the positive opinion of the Environmental Impact Assessment Committee of the Ministry for the Environment (opinion no. 1320) of 2 August 2013.
COSTS OF THE INVESTMENT
The estimated costs for the realization of the whole system lay in between approximately 2.1 billion Euros, thanks to project reviews of November 2014, costs reduced of 750 million euros, that are supposed to be earmarked with both public and private resources under project financing regime. The European Union has already allocated 770,000 euros to co-fund engineering research, and economic and financial analyses for the accomplishment of a PPP (Public-Private Partnership).
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