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29/10/2014
THE INDUSTRY'S VIEW: STREAMLINED LOGISTICS NEEDED

 

Italian Automotive firms are losing competitiveness due to costs and a cumbersome beaurocratic machine



Paolo Castiglia

Italian automotive firms are losing competitiveness due to extremely high costs, a cumbersome bureaucratic machine and a heavy tax burden. This is what appears by comparing costs between a company operating in Italy, in Slovenia, Greece and Spain. Taking into consideration, therefore, countries that, geographically or economically are quite similar to Italy. Well, total costs per kilometer show our country leading the way with 1,225 euro, followed by Spain with 0,922, Slovenia with 0,869 and Greece with 0,815 euro.

Chemical companies, responsible for moving around 38 million tons of chemical products and substances, 58% of which are classified “ dangerous”, are weighed down by almost 5 billion euro. These figures were recently presented, by Federchimica’s president Cesare Puccioni during the annual assembly, to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, Maurizio Lupi.

Operating costs in Italy are nearly twice as much as the above-mentioned countries: managing a lorry in our country costs annually 21 thousand euro more compared to both Slovenia and Greece and 12 thousand more compared to Spain. The cost of fuel is in line with EU average only thanks to duty concessions.

Furthermore, Italian companies have to deal with a slow bureaucratic system: for a judgment to enforce a contract, a waiting period of 1000 days is quite normal, while 170 days are needed to receive payment by the public administration. To top it all, in the last 15 years, taxes have increased by 2,3%, whereas, at the same time, they have been reduced in Germany, Poland and Romania. The entire sector pays to the state 6 times as much as its total contribution to the GNP, which was 0,9% in 2011.

 

Meanwhile the volume of goods hauled by foreign companies has grown. Between 2007 and 2012 domestic cabotage performed by foreign hauliers has grown by 18,2%. Of this, volumes handled by traditional foreign companies, such as German, French, Belgian ones etc., has remained unchanged, whereas east European competitors are quickly gaining the upper hand. In 2007 they moved about 7% of tons/km within the Italian borders, while in 2012 their market share has reached 37,2%.

We must add that between 2007 and 2012, the tons/kilometer ratio moved on Italian roads has decreased by 25,3% (the total freight reduction including all transport modes was 18%). In the same period, the total number of people employed in the transport sector has diminished by 22.400 units, of which 22.100 only in the road transport sector.

 

“The streamlining of logistics structures, a fundamental step in the Italian infrastructural policy, - Puccioni told the Minister- must be applied, first of all, to maritime transport. There are 24 Port Authorities, whose procedures and decisions have to be coordinated”. As far as land transport, the lower frequency of rail accidents compared to road accidents and the lower environmental impact ( in terms of CO2 emissions) should be considered. However, the ‘streamlining policy’ adopted by Gruppo FS (national railway company) has, in fact, obliged companies to rely more on road transport: dangerous cargo moved via rail has diminished by 16%. Before 2000 there were over one thousand rail yards in Italy, a number that has been reduced to 227, of which, only 67 authorized to handle “hazardous goods”.

In 2010, the abolition by Trenitalia of the so called ‘Traffico Diffuso’ (rail transport with single carriages, rather practical for small and mid-sized companies) of hazardous goods, has resulted in a 3 million tons increase of hazardous goods moved by road hauliers, a quantity equal to 75thousand lorries.

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