News: Italian shipping company Grimaldi Group has announced that it has launched a new Adriatic Sea service, reports Transport Weekly. The thrice-weekly service will call at the ports of Ravenna, Brindisi and Catania. It will utilise two roll-on roll-off vessels, namely the Eurocargo Brindisi and Eurocargo Catania . The service will transport rolling units such as cars, trucks and vans. It will also allow clients to connect to other European and North African freight services run by the Grimaldi Group in the Balkans, Greece, Libya and Malta.
BMI View: The eurozone crisis has had a deeper impact on the Italian economy than was at first hoped, dragging GDP into an estimated 2.3% contraction in 2012 and a predicted standstill (0% growth) in 2013. While the worst of the fiscal crisis is now over, and we do see a recovery on the way, the resumption of growth in 2014 will be a modest affair, at 1.1%. Indeed, we do not see annual growth getting much beyond the 1% mark in the years between now and 2017. This sets a significant constraint on the local freight transport industry, although some positive industry-specific factors will allow a degree of 'de-coupling' from the macroeconomic gloom. For example, railfreight operators believe that growing intra-European business will boost tonnage at higher-than-GDP rates.