When ports “network”: the success of the Marinedi reality

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A view of the marina in Procida, one of Marinedi’s signature ports

Networking, standardizing the level of services, offering a broad experience to shipowners who frequent the port. These are some of the key concepts behind Marinedi, the network of ports that has now expanded throughout Italy from north to south and has 14 marinas for more than 7 thousand berths (find them at www.marinedi.com). An entrepreneurial choice begun in 2009 that has proven to be a winner and has as its goal the good management of marinas by putting the needs of boaters at the center of attention. We talked about this with Engineer Renato Marconi, Marinedi founder and Administrator who explained the reality of the network.

Engineer Renato Marconi, founder and Administrator of Marinedi, guided us to discover the network of ports that has now expanded throughout Italy and beyond.

How did the idea of creating a network of ports come about?
Underlying Marinedi’s project is the conviction that the time of autonomous and autarkic individual marinas has been over for at least 10 years, for a reason first and foremost of sustainability. As it has been for hotels, which have formed chains since World War II, so it is and will be for marinas. The future is chains of ports, on this original idea we started working from the central Tyrrhenian Sea, with the goal of covering the entire Mediterranean. Distribution must be gradual and homogeneous, however, because a network of marinas, even more so than a hotel chain, must not have ports within it that are too geographically distant from each other, otherwise the network effect will vanish. Currently we have 14 marinas, with medium duration sailings the yachtsman can move from one port to another. By the end of the year we expect to have two new major ports, one abroad and one in northern Italy.

What are the benefits in terms of service to the boater?
High and consistent Standard of Services in each of our facilities is the basis of everything. Our idea is to have a common brand that allows the customer to go from one port to another without variation in quality. The customer knows they will always find the same level of service. Then each port has its own tariff that is related to the surrounding area. But there is the possibility of taking advantage of promotions: if a yachtsman, for example, makes a one-year contract in Chiavari, he can spend four months of his annuity mooring at another port in the network at no additional cost to the 12 months he pays for his berth. No small advantage.
We also have, again to encourage movement between our marinas, vauchers of six free nights to spend two nights per port, ideal for cruise travelers who want to move between marinas in our network. The customer is also entitled to enjoy a 10 percent discount if he/she goes beyond the 6-day vaucher, and this also applies to those who only do seasonal contracts.

How does the network work and how are facilities chosen?
We own the concessions, and the companies that are part of Marinedi predominantly have a majority stake in the management of the individual facility in our network. Ports are chosen based on the opportunities that arise; we are not interested in all ports because not all of them have the characteristics we require: proximity to an airport, no less than 400 berths, and contiguous location to Marinedi ports are the three essential criteria for evaluating whether a facility can be part of the network. Opportunities are also screened and decided according to the ports we have, two ports side by side do not interest us, two distant ones make sense if we have another one in between. The choices are technical, logistical and economic.

How do you divide the fleet in your ports between sailboats and motor boats?
In line with the trend in Italy on average we have 65-75% motor and 25-35% sail. Then there are ports where sailing is to a somewhat greater extent, such as Teulada which has 40-42% as well as also in Procida, Villasimius on the other hand is more shifted to motor.

The environmental issue is also an unavoidable topic for ports, how do you deal with it?
Environmental sustainability is very important to us, because no matter how carefully you manage it a port is a “disturbance” to the marine environment because it is an artificial construction. It is therefore the task of those who manage it to make this impact as light as possible. The main strategy is to avoid water pollution in any form: there are no sewage discharges in any of our marinas, it is forbidden to use boat discharges in the harbor (many boats now have black water), and with boats we promote systems of collecting floating garbage with periodic “patrols” by our men. We check what antifoulings are being used at port sites to make sure everything is up to standard at all times. For any spillage of smaller waste or fuel, we have seabins that suck up all these things. Each port has the standard equipment of floating benches and absorbent sheets, for possible fuel leakage. Protecting the waters of our ports is a very serious matter.

www.marinedi.com

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