• Highway bridge collapse shuts downs container traffic in the port city of Genoa

    15 August 2018

    Transportation and logistics in and around the port city of Genoa have been paralyzed since midday on August 14 after the central span of the Morandi Bridge, a flyover bridge supporting the A10 highway, collapsed onto rail tracks and warehouses. As of early August 15, 35 people have been confirmed dead and more than 13 have been injured. The cause of the collapse, which occurred during heavy rainfall and strong winds, was not immediately clear as the bridge was undergoing maintenance work. The bridge is an important artery for freight movements, connecting the Port of Genoa with Milan and Torino to the north, and France to the west. This is the second bridge collapse in a little over one week after a bridge on the A14 highway near Bologna partially gave way on August 6 after a tanker truck exploded.

    Due to the bridge collapse, road traffic has been halted along a several kilometer-long stretch of the A10 highway between the A7 juncture and the Via Enrico Melen exit, which connects to the Genoa Cristoforo Colombo Airport, the city’s main airport. It is unclear when the highway will reopen, but authorities have already indicated that the remaining parts of the bridge may need to be demolished, which is likely to take months to complete.

    As the bridge extended over multiple railway lines, rail traffic has been halted between Rivarolo and Sampierdarena stations. Local evacuations have been reported due to concerns over structural integrity as some buildings were under or near the bridge. One factory, located immediately next to one of the bridge’s support columns, seems to have sustained damages. In addition, container terminals at the Port of Genoa, located about 5 kilometers from the bridge, have preemptively closed their gates on August 14, preventing trucks from entering the gates to load or unload containers. Vessel operations were said to continue as usual, and gates are expected to reopen by August 16.

    Road and rail traffic throughout the city of Genoa has already been significantly compromised since August 14. With only one bypass available via the SS1 road and bridge construction works likely taking months before completion, congestion, delays and additional fees will likely affect road, rail and ocean freight transportation from and to Genoa over the coming months. Customers should be mindful of the following transportation impacts when planning shipments to, from or through the Genoa area:

    1. Cross-terminal movements between the major container terminals VTE and SECH in Genoa, which are linked by the Morandi Bridge, are likely to suffer delays. This is expected to affect export containers in transit, which may miss cut-off times on vessel services.
    2. Container movements between Genoa and industrial centers such as Torino and Milan in Italy, as well as the French border near Menton, is likely to experience extended delays as trucks are re-routed via smaller, congested connection roads towards the A12 highway to the north or the A10 highway to the west.
    3. As rail tracks are likely to remain closed in the short term, potential alternative modes of transportation such as intermodal rail traffic from the Port of Genoa to Milan will also be affected by the bridge collapse. Since containers from Milan are usually connected to Germany through the important Rhine Alpes Rail Corridor via Switzerland, rail exports from factories located in the port area of Genoa are expected to face delays and congestions. Factories in the area include the Ilva steel mill that supplies hot-rolled steel to automotive, packaging and energy customers.

    Customers are advised to monitor recovery efforts in the area and consider the aforementioned impacts to transportation when planning cargo movement in the area.

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