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Family Aid 2020
   Vol. 21 No. 6
Tuesday February 1, 2022
MSC ITA LH Acronyms With A Meaning
Gianluige Aponte

     The news about MSC’s interest in ITA Airways recently hit the Italian TV, despite this being the period of the complicated election of President Mattarella’s successor, naturally taking the front line. MSC’s move is a big deal then, and it is in line with anything Gianluigi Aponte - founder and executive chairman of the Mediterranean Shipping Company group – has ever done. MSC had already taken the stage in the transportation and logistics industry by being crowned biggest liners of the world last year, just ahead of Maersk by a neck, and now: MSC takes wings? On January 24th MSC expressed interest to acquire ITA Airways, with the aim of partnering with the Italian government and . . . Lufthansa. Allegedly Alfredo Altavilla, president of ITA Airways, was informed about the move.
     As a forwarder you would think of MSC as a principal operator in maritime cargo, but MSC Cruises hits the podium of the international cruise industry and the group manages several port terminals, too. It is a big deal indeed, no wonder. I tried to imagine what was going on, before and behind the curtain. In my recent article about the demise of Alitalia it was relatively clear that the Italian government had managed to clear the way for a new agreement by removing the decades-old Alitalia legacy, which had always prevented any agreement with Lufthansa in the past.
     In an interview released to Il Corriere della Sera, the largest Italian newspaper, Mr. Aponte declared that, “We want to manage the company, otherwise we wouldn't do this. We do not want to be a ‘sleeping partner’. ITA Airways has an excellent management, which will remain in place. We will be part of the board of directors, through which we will express our ideas for the development of the group, i.e. the creation of synergies with our business, both on the cruise side and on the freight transport side.”
     It is therefore clear that Mr. Aponte has not thought about taking ITA over just in order to feed passengers into the ports where his cruise ships are docking, in Italy or abroad. If that were the plan, it would be a pity. There are many, many other synergies that one could think of in the integration of air and maritime services both in passengers and cargo. I am confident this is just another example of Mr. Aponte’s legendary acumen: many of MSC’s customers need air freight services as well as maritime cargo slots, if the ashes of Alitalia cargo can be resurrected within ITA, the alliance with LH will become strategic.
     This is where the importance of acronyms comes to glare with a new light: Luft means air and Hansa is essentially a guild of merchants in a German medieval town. What did these merchants do in the Middle Ages? They were trying to trade with Italy and, principally, Genoa, Venice, Florence and Rome. America had not been “discovered” yet and the principal trade routes were in the Mediterranean. Actually the acronym Mediterranean Shipping Company needs no further explanation and I T & A are obviously the first three letters of the word Italy, as well as part of the AlITAlia brand, but the abbreviation also suggests “Invitation To Apply”: well, that was probably what the Italian government was unwittingly thinking and Mr. Aponte decided to accept. So long as Lufthansa understands that this time they are dealing with something that they cannot think of controlling, and if they are available to provide expertise in return for decent revenues, I think the marriage can work.
     Without prejudice, and with great respect for the exceptional nature of this deal, I offer these comments.
Marco L. Sorgetti

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Vol. 21 No. 3
Think Sustainable Is Attainable
Chuckles for January 17, 2022
Winners In NOLA
Fruit Logistics Goes Bananas In April
Genius Draws No Color Lines

Vol. 21 No. 4
Sustainability Costwise & Otherwise
Chuckles for January 20, 2022
Good Numbers for AirCargo 2022
Women's Networking Event
Webber's NOLA Musical Interlude

Vol. 21 No. 5
Lady Liberty She Ain't
China Economic & Political Outlook
Chuckles for January 25, 2022
A Slap With A Velvet Glove
Rolling Back The Curtain
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