• La Spezia Container Terminal will use this financing to modernise the port, purchasing 20 new cranes, strengthening the rail system and increasing the quay and yard capacity. 
  • The project confirms support for this strategic component of the national logistics network, which is a key hub in connections to central and northern Europe. 
  • The new terminal will lend renewed impetus to the local economy, creating jobs and delivering positive environmental impact by cutting CO2 levels per TEU[1] handled by 50% and overall emissions by 10% from 2026. 

Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), Intesa Sanpaolo and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have granted a €160 million loan to La Spezia Container Terminal (LSCT, a private company and part of the Contship Italia Group), a shipping leader and manager of the Ligurian terminal, for the development of the Port of La Spezia. The goal is to improve access to the port by strengthening the rail system, delivering positive employment and environmental impact.

In concrete terms, the funds will support LSCT's investment plan (finalised with the Port Authority of the Eastern Ligurian Sea on 29 July 2022) to purchase new cutting-edge quayside cranes, ASC[2] yard cranes and others for landside use, in addition to improving infrastructure across the board. The work mainly covers: the construction of a new quay, the creation of an operational yard, work on the Canaletto Marina, and the strengthening of the rail system for landside goods handling. It will bring the terminal's total handling capacity to around 2 million TEUs, with the share of goods transferred by rail rising to 50% from its current level of 33%. This will make the Port of La Spezia into an increasingly key location in the Ligurian Sea, where it is among the main access points to the transport corridors connecting central and northern Europe.

The operation was structured by the Corporate Finance Mid-Cap Department in Intesa Sanpaolo's IMI Corporate & Investment Banking Division (which will also act as agent bank), CDP and the EIB.

The loan has a total maturity of 15 years, with an availability period[3] running until December 2025. It aims to support this strategic piece of infrastructure of national importance, which is also a key hub for the Mediterranean. The work to expand, rationalise and improve the efficiency of the terminal will also make the national logistics system as a whole more competitive. This will be aided by the adoption of cutting-edge automation and electrification solutions, in line with the most modern ports of northern Europe.

The project is in line with CDP's strategic plan for 2022-2024, and follows the intervention priorities identified in the sectoral strategic guidelines on transport and logistics hubs. In addition, it aims to have a positive effect on the environment, taking the significant increase in movements into account. CO2 emissions per TEU handled normally will be halved, while overall emissions will be cut by 10% from 2026. The investment programme is in line with the "do no significant harm” (DNSH) principle of not causing significant damage to the environment under the six objectives set in the EU taxonomy. Direct and indirect effects on employment levels are also expected, given the demand that will be created.

EIB Head of Division for Infrastructure, Energy and Public Sector Loans in Italy and Malta Andrea Clerici said: “This operation bolsters the EIB's position as the main financier of Italian ports and once again demonstrates its commitment to supporting the economic development and decarbonisation of the ports sector, an important element in enabling Italy to keep its status as one of the key European players in shipping.”

CDP Head of Infrastructure Carlo Lamari added: “We are proud to work together with the banking system and EU institutions to support La Spezia Container Terminal's investment plan, which will lead to the implementation of projects with significant impact in the strategically important ports sector. All of the operations will be carried out applying sustainability and innovation criteria and will have positive employment and environmental effects on the local area.”

Intesa Sanpaolo Regional Director for Piemonte Sud and Liguria Andrea Perusin said: “We are pleased to play a central role in an operation of this calibre that enables us to look to the future during such a difficult time, with tangible results for the whole area and beyond. Our group has provided €410 billion in financing within the timescale of the Italian national recovery and resilience plan. The aim is clear: speed up the country's recovery, digitalisation and green transition via local businesses, in which we place the maximum confidence.”

The European Investment Bank (EIB)  finances projects in four priority areas: infrastructure, innovation, climate and environment, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Between 2019 and 2020, the EIB Group provided €23 billion in financing for projects in Italy.

[1] TEU (twenty (foot) equivalent unit) is a standard shipping measurement corresponding to the size of a 20-foot (around 6.1-metre) ISO container.

[2] ASC (automated stacking cranes), an automated crane system used in the sorting and stacking of containers at shipping terminals.

[3] The period during which loan disbursement can be requested.