In September the Western Liguria Sea Port Authority reported a sharp rise in total cargo throughput of +17.7%, an upward trend which continues across the third quarter of the year, with a +17% increase and 15,881,144 tons with respect to the corresponding period of 2020.
Following the fast growth of box trade posted in August, containerised cargo is now in line with the volumes registered in the comparable period of previous years, with a monthly total of 210,605 TEUs, and a +6.9% and +1.9% advance on 2020 and pre-pandemic 2019 respectively.
The third quarter of 2021 continues to show an upward trend in rail traffic, although it has slowed down slightly with respect to the first half of the year. The number of rail cars handled rose by +18.9%, with an increase in the number of containers freighted to/from the Ligurian ports of +6.6% for a total of over 92,000 TEUs. It is important to note that in the first nine months of 2021, container volumes moved by rail rose to 287,699 TEUs, with an improvement in the intermodal split to 15.5%, compared to the rail ratio reported in 2019 and 2020 of 14.1% and 14.2% respectively.
The strong performance of the conventional general cargo sector in the first half of 2021 continues across the third quarter of the year, with a +7.2% advance on the corresponding period of the previous year, and a +16.1% increase on the first nine months of the year, with a total of 11,155,584 tons. Ro-ro traffic, which accounts for the greatest share of this commodity segment, recorded over the third quarter of the year in the Port of Genoa a slight increase of +0.6% on 2020, and a dip of -1.1% on Q3 2019, whilst the Ports of Savona and Vado Ligure surged by +14.02% in Q3 2021 and +24,10% over the first nine months of the year.
With reference to the liquid bulk sector, the Port Authority reported a +31.3% growth rate in mineral oils in the third quarter of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, with a total of approximately 4.7 million tons; whilst the first nine months of the year registered almost 13.2 million tons, +9.8% up on 2020, but still lower than the volumes posted in 2019 (-15.9%).
The solid bulk industry shows signs of recovery following the closures of last spring/summer, and volumes published by the Ports of Genoa, Savona and Vado totalled 1.9 million tons in the first nine months of 2021, a sharp rise of +31.6% on 2020, but still lagging slightly behind the 2.5 million tons handled in 2019.
Passenger traffic continues to suffer the most severe setback due to the repercussions of the pandemic. In September the Cruise Ports of Genoa and Savona registered over 91,000 passengers, an improvement on the previous year but still far behind the 231,077 passenger count recorded in the same month of 2019. Ferry passenger traffic surged by +36.2% on September 2020 with 290,109 passengers, but a -18.8% reduction on 2019. The first nine months of 2021 confirmed an overall passenger count of 1,999,518, a +43.4% advance on the corresponding period in 2020, but a contraction of -46.6% compared to 2019.