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Figures for the year 2021

In 2021 the ports of the North Adriatic Sea Port Authority saw traffic recover after the slowdown in the first year of the pandemic. In 2021, the Port of Venice handled over 24 million 204 thousand tonnes, marking a 7.9% increase in total volumes compared to 2020, with the commercial sector driving the recovery (+14.2%); the Port of Chioggia handled over 1 million tonnes, posting a 16.7% year-over-year increase in total volumes.

More specifically, data for the period January – December 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, show that liquid bulk handled at the port of Venice decreased slightly to 8 million 415 thousand tons (-1,8%), while dry bulk increased to almost 6 million 440 thousand tons (+30,4%) and general cargo reached 9 million 350 thousand tonnes (+5%). As the dry bulk category clearly shows, these figures are largely influenced by domestic and international trends in energy supplies: while coal and lignite rose by a remarkable 105% and metallurgical products topped 2 million 144 thousand tonnes handled (+42.7%), cereals and foodstuffs lost 62,843 tonnes (-18.8%) and 88,244 tonnes (-5.6%) respectively, still suffering the consequences of a drop in production due to Covid-19-related restrictions in some industries compounded by changes in agri-food logistics, with goods from Eastern European countries increasingly preferring rail and road to sea transport.

Venice also experienced a drop in container traffic, down to 15,250 TEU (-2.8%): among the contributing factors were the increase in maritime freight rates and the need to balance inbound full containers with outbound movements. As already seen in the third quarter of 2021, the gap, typically in favour of outbound containers, has narrowed, thus reducing the number of empty containers that need to be imported.
Despite the data, this dynamic is less worrying from the point of view of the sector’s sustainability. In fact, full containers remained in line with last year's figure (0.7% TEU), while empty containers dropped sharply (-10.7% TEU).

As expected, there was a significant increase in ferry passenger traffic (+58.3%) and cruises (+460%) which had come to a stop in 2020. Thanks to the partial resumption of the cruise schedule and the solutions for the temporary berths, 31,685 cruise passengers called at Venice from January to December 2021.

In 2021, the port of Chioggia saw a rise both in liquid bulk (up to 4 thousand 960 tonnes) – which had zeroed in 2020 – and dry bulk (about 749 thousand tonnes; +9.6%). Also general cargo increased over 2020, with 316 thousand 290 tonnes handled in 2021 (+35,5%).

The President of the North Adriatic Sea Port Authority, Fulvio Lino Di Blasio explained: "The remarkable drop in industrial production and the restrictions linked to the 2020 pandemic crisis have had – and continue to have – major repercussions on domestic and international logistics, with impacts on all sectors and modes of transport. However the ports of the Venice lagoon are well placed to resume growth and outperform the pre-pandemic volumes thanks to the opportunities offered by Italy’s recovery plan (PNRR), the establishment of the simplified logistics zone (ZLS) and the implementation of the projects envisaged in the port’s three-year operation plan (POT), which are currently underway and promote innovation, the development of intermodality and greater environmental and social sustainability".