Oil&nonOil: infrastructure ready for the transition provided it is not one-way towards electricity

 In EXHIBITION, Oil&nonOil 2021 Verona

The role of the logistics system in the energy transition and relaunching Italy within an international perspective. This was the theme of the conference “The future of logistics in the new global challenges” held at Veronafiere as part of the 16th Oil&nonOil event

New globalization, technological neutrality, inter-modal transport and specialization are some of the key concepts that emerged during the debate, where infrastructure was the common denominator.

Zeno D’Agostino, President of the Eastern Adriatic Sea Port System Authority, set the issue in a context of “chaos”, where the pandemic is only one of several aspects and forecasts are not easy to make. Briefly, the world remains globalized but a new globalization is emerging with macro-regions with industrial production and logistics platforms that are also adapting to this type of new manufacturing localization on a global scale.”

Dario Sorìa, Director General of Assocostieri, highlighted a fundamental issue: the role of infrastructures in the transition to renewable energy sources. “The current energy mix is rightly questioned,” and the aim by 2050 focuses on a “new decarbonised energy mix”; the critical aspect is how the transition will be implemented and for Assocostieri “a neutral approach” must be taken in this regard. An overall vision is needed in order to understand “how our infrastructures can be used.”

This standpoint was also taken by Franco Del Manso, head of international, environmental and technical relations of the Unione Energie per la Mobilità (Unem), who feels that “the transition has strong links with regulatory aspects, which must be non-penalizing but neutral and enabling. “Our logistics structure is already able to operate with most of renewable raw materials,” but “it will be of little use if we have to move towards a wholly electric transition,” he explained; however, he also considered this outcome to be “highly unlikely.”

MP Guido Germano Pettarin, member of the Parliamentary Budget, Treasury and Planning Commission, in this context, pointed out that “we cannot create infrastructure from scratch” but must reconvert, modernize and adapt an existing supply chain. All the more so for Italy “the problem is not only one of being able to overcome the pandemic crisis but also to get over twenty years of previous stagnation” and that “interest rates will not remain low forever.”

Silvia Migliorini, Director of Federchimica-Assogasliquidi agreed, suggesting that, given Italy’s existing resources in terms of upline and downline infrastructures, it would be more appropriate to talk about a “logic of valorization” rather than a “logic of reconversion”.

Natalino Mori, Vice President of the Federation of Italian Hauliers (Fai), noted that one of the most important levers in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) concerns the development of inter-modal systems and combined transport, except that the development of networks has been promoted while inter-modal exchanges have been neglected. Another observation can be mentioned here: more than 70% of goods are transported over distances of less than 300 km and this “defines the perimeter of irreplaceable road transport”, suggesting that LNG and bio-LNG may well be “reasonable sources of energy for the foreseeable future.”

With reference to the PNRR, Diana Fabrizi, Head of Institutional Relations of the Sustainable Intermodal Logistics Association (Alis) indicated three pillars: sustainability, digitalisation and training. The latter is particularly important because “there is a huge shortage of specialized professionals in the sector”.

Lastly, Guido Castelli, Councilor for Transport Networks of the Marches Region, called for “reasoning and gradualness” in climate action in order to preserve social cohesion.