2018 is a record year for cruises with an increase in the port of Palermo of 26% compared to 2017 and almost 600 thousand cruise passengers disembarked from the most prestigious companies. According to the data communicated in Trieste during the eighth edition of the “Italian Cruise Day”, the Sicilian port dates from three positions compared to last year and is one of the first twenty Mediterranean ports, finishing in 16th place.
The data were provided by Pasqualino Monti, president of the Port System Authority of the Western Sea of Sicily.
During 2018, the positive news of Termini Imerese was registered, which saw a thousand cruise passengers disembark, and also Trapani and Porto Empedocle lived satisfactory months, increasing their traffic under the Authority.
To the growth of the passengers a constant and frenetic work has been paid to fill the delay both from the infrastructural and receptive point of view, starting a deep redevelopment action in the four ports of the network. Pasqualino Monti explains: “We are really very satisfied with the result achieved in 2018 but at the same time, having launched a serious renovation, it will not be easy, due to the impractical work in the heart of the Palermo airport, to maintain the same level of cruise passengers in 2019 However, there is the forecast of an increase in ships in Trapani, a port also chosen by Costa, while the numerical Termini Imerese and Porto Empedocle remain constant”.
The Western Sicily network will be the subject of important interventions.
In Palermo there will be no mixture of cruises and goods: the trucks will be concentrated in the north, while the south side will be dedicated to passengers. And while working at the existing maritime station to prepare the port for the 2020 challenge, the first phase of the redevelopment project begins, the result of the ideas competition announced this year: the Varco Amari will be involved – which will become a green area in contact with the city – and the Piave wharf, deprived of the cumbersome presence of silos, where the new multipurpose terminal will begin to grow. Another fundamental intervention concerns the Trapezoidal pier. The entire area will be freed from construction sites, redeveloped and destined for leisure and pleasure boating. The executive project is also ready for the dredging foreseen at the Crispi 3 basin: they will bring the depth to -12 meters to allow the docking of large ships.
At Termini Imerese we start again with the works on the overflow and underfloor jetty, preparatory to the dredging operations for a depth of – 10 meters and the increase of commercial traffic with connections to the center and north of Italy, without losing eye the cruises sector. Preliminary studies for the Port Regulatory Plan and dredging are planned in Trapani and Porto Empedocle. In Trapani there will be the maritime station and a new terminal will be created dedicated to the reception of passengers departing for the smaller islands, Egadi and Pantelleria, while Porto Empedocle one will start the maintenance work and the project for a small maritime station.