What summer do you think will be the next one for ferries?
“In my opinion we are approaching a summer where we will see only local (national) tourists transported on ships who will be asked to halve the capacity, if not even divide it by three to reorganize the spaces. The islands, especially here in Spain, will be left with those few holidaymakers who have a second home there, so the traffic will be very, very limited”.
Will this scenario lead to ticket prices increase?
“Yes, but the market can only accept price increases to a certain extent. Especially here in Spain where the islands have to compete with much cheaper resorts and destinations ashore on the mainland”.
Where do you currently live?
“I live in Spain, close to Valencia. But the office is in Malta, so I was used to travel continuously between Spain and Valletta. I’ll get back to Malta as soon as I can.”
The fact that ferries will have to cut their capacity by half (if not worse) will also have a significant impact on returns and asset values, don’t you think?
“We are negotiating and last week we sold a ship for demolition, or rather recycling. I think there will be a lot of movement among the old ships that will be scrapped. The one about the value of the ships is a good question but I don’t think there will be a lot of ferry sales in the next few months. I believe that the value of the ships won’t fall simply because there will be no market.
I am almost sure that one of the measures to be taken will be to reduction of passengers’ capacity, but we all hope that they will be temporary measures. Here in the Straits of Gibraltar there were ships that in July and August were used to carry people between the two sides of the Med at full capacity, with the lounges full of passengers. I think those are images that we won’t see for at least a year.”
Are you following what’s happening in Italy to Tirrenia – Compagnia di Navigazione, the ferry company today 100%-controlled by Moby that you headed? What will be the end of that story?
“Yes, I follow from here what is happening also because it’s a company that I’m very fond of. But I would prefer not to comment on this topic”.
What about Liberty Lines (former Ustica Lines)? The company is still under Morace family’s control but in the recent past it was commissioned and there were also some rumours of a potential sale (which at the end did not take shape) to Marnavi group. What’s new on that side?
“On this front there are ongoing legal proceedings (the Mare Monstrum investigation, ed) so I cannot comment. I haven’t been involved in the company’s management for more than two years now; my brother Gianluca is today at the helm of the company. There are ongoing proceedings and things work out over time. We can talk about when all the procedure will come to an end. In the meantime, there are no plan of sales for the company as far as I know. And since I’m still a shareholder I should be informed in case.”
Nicola Capuzzo for Ferry Shipping News