Keywords: ports, logistics, transport infrastructures
Between 2003 and 2007, the volume of container traffic handled by the Italian port system increased only slightly despite the strong growth of maritime traffic in the Mediterranean Sea. This was due both to internal economic stagnation and to the inability of the ports to extend abroad their operational area because of the lack of good port and land infrastructures. This paper aims to investigate these issues on the basis of a survey of the national agents of the main global shipping companies. The main weaknesses in competitiveness regard land infrastructure; other problems involve inefficiencies in local ports' activities and insufficient infrastructure. National logistics and the supply chain are fragmented compared with the integrated systems of other countries. In the opinion of the shipping agents, in addition to improvements in infrastructure, it is necessary to liberalise rail transportation and to modernise port governance, especially by reducing red tape and granting wider financial autonomy to the port authorities.