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Ignazio Messina & C. – Genoa, Italy

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Interview with

Mr. Ignazio Messina

Ignazio Messina

First of all, could you elaborate a bit on the history and current ownership of Messina Group?

Ignazio Messina & C. is mainly a shipping company. Last year we celebrated our first century of shipping. Our company offers international maritime line services from the Mediterranean to North Africa, East and South Africa, the Red Sea, India-Pakistan and the Arabian Gulf, West Africa. 

On our modern container ConRo ships – the biggest ever built – we accept containers, RORO cargo, general cargo, yacht, project cargo and, generally speaking, every kind of goods which can be shipped via ramp, 350 tons. of max load. 

Since the 70s, Messina Line became a terminal operator in the Port of La Spezia, then in the Port of Genoa and in other ports in Africa and a multi-transport operator offering an end-to-end service via intermodal transports and managing many intermodal terminals.

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Our newsletter focuses on project and related cargoes.  Can you tell our readers about the type of tonnage that you employ and also your main trade lanes for those who are not familiar with the routing of Messina Line?

We manage our containers on ConRo-specialized ships on the services beyond the Suez Canal, and mainly we transport project cargo to/from the Mediterranean, from/to the Red Sea, mainly Saudi Arabia and Jordan, and India and Arabian Gulf, mainly United Arab Emirates and Upper Gulf, but often even East South African countries are involved in project cargo.

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Are containers available via Messina Line and/or do you also accept SOC containers?  I understand that you employ a range of RoRo vessels in your service. How about the ramp capacity and opening height?

We have a 55.000 TEU container fleet, owned and chartered containers, but we also accept SOC containers. The big jumbo ramp at the stern of our ConRo vessels has a max load of 350 tons, with a 12,5 mt free drive breadth, and a wide stern door with 27 by 7 meters of clear passage.

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Nowadays, many shipowners wish to be the jack of all trades. In other words, they want to be freight forwarders, air freight specialists, and liner operators.  What is the policy of Messina Line? Are you “freight forwarder friendly” so to speak?

Yes, we are “Freight Forwarder friendly” because they are our main clients and we want to respect them, even if we are in touch with the other sectors but always in agreement with their/our clients, the freight forwarder. We have mainly grown in the supply chain offering our maritime services, terminal operations, inland transports, stuffing and unstuffing containers, platforms, mafi, flat rack…generally speaking an end-to-end service not only in the container market.

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Did Corona affect you adversely or did you also experience fully-booked vessels and space problems?  What is the situation going to be in your view looking at your crystal ball for 2023?

During the Coronavirus pandemic, mainly in the second period (2021- first half of 2022), we had fully-booked vessels and high rates of freight, but we granted to our main clients a first class service in comparison with the global carriers because, even thanks to our specialized ships, we didn’t suffer congestion in the ports nor lack of equipment.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a crystal ball, and it’s very difficult to prepare the 2023 budget, due to the weak container market; we update our forecast twice a week.

We can say that the RoRo market will still be strong in the first half of 2023, even if there is a switch from RoRo to container for the automotive market due to the lack of ships and lower container rates. Let’s hope container freight rates stop decreasing, while the project cargo will be more stable. Surely 2023 will not be as 2022, the best year ever in our history.

Can you please give our readers your contact information?

Our website is https://www.messinaline.it/.

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