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Year 2020 data for the ports of Venice and Chioggia

In the year of the pandemic, data confirm lower traffic volumes at the ports of the Venice lagoon: the port of Venice handled 2.5 million tonnes (-10.3%) less than in 2019 – such percentage is smaller if coal is not factored in; the port of Chioggia instead lost approximately 409 thousand tonnes (-31%). According to the latest data available, the 10.3% drop in freight suffered by Venice in 2020 is lower than Italy’s average reduction (-14.3%) recorded in the same period by Italian ports with a comparable geographic, market and functional profile. Despite the impacts of the coronavirus on the world economy, figures in the second half of 2020 improved over the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2019. The smallest decrease was recorded in the fourth quarter, when the freight tonnes handled at the port of Venice were down 8.1% on a year-over-year basis; that means a consolidated fall of -4.7%, net of the coal shipments.

It is worth noting that coal is one of the main commodities handled by the Veneto port system. In fact, a significant part of the decline in freight volumes at the Port of Venice in 2020 results from the collapse of coal (-69.6%), caused by Italy’s decision to phase out such energy source in accordance with the guidelines of the National Energy Strategy. Net of coal, whose destiny is beyond the Port of Venice’s control, freight handling in Venice was down 6.3% (against a total of – 10.3%).

Liquid bulk was down 5.1% (-461 thousand tonnes), dry bulk, including coal, dropped by 20.4%    (-1,278 million tonnes) and general cargo fell by 8.6% (-844 thousand tonnes).
Some foodstuffs, such as animal feeds and oilseeds, are bucking the trend with a 2.6% growth, while steel bulk (-6.6%) and chemical products (-2%) are holding steady.

Venice saw a drop also in its container sector, with a loss of 64,394 TEUs (-10.8%). Such decrease is due, in part, to the impact of COVID-19 on the economic trend, which led many companies to cut the supply of cargo space and increase blank sailings, and in part to the interruption of the direct line to the Far East – that AdSP MAS is determined to restore as soon as possible. To that end, major maintenance operations are already underway to excavate the Malamocco-Marghera canal. In the meantime, feeder services available at the Port of Venice have made it possible to contain the drop in volumes caused by the temporary suspension of the Far East line.

Ferry passenger traffic decreased by 76%, while cruise traffic basically stopped (-99.6%) with 5,653 passengers transiting compared to over 1.617 million in the previous year.
In Chioggia, the small amounts of liquid bulk handled in 2019 were down to zero in 2020 and solid bulk goods fell by 10.4%, with building products (cement, lime, mortar) losing over 65 thousand tonnes. In contrast, positive signals came from the solid chemical products, which grew by 5.7% reaching 7 thousand tonnes; in absolute terms, however, they represent only a niche. General cargo also decreased by 59.3%.